MLK Day of Service

MLK Day image of student

In honor of Dr. King’s spirit of service and peace, the MLK Day(s) of Service are designed to engage Oxy students, staff, faculty, and alumni in community-based projects. 

Join the 2021 Initiative with Oxy and Hunger Free America

Due to the current health and economic crisis, more than 54 million people in America are struggling with hunger. But seasonal and charitable work can’t end hunger alone. Higher impact work, like volunteering professional skills at an anti-hunger organization or advocating for a stronger safety net or higher wages can make a bigger difference in the fight to end hunger.

This year, SLICE is partnering with Hunger Free America for the MLK 2021 Serve-A-Thon. For 20 years, Hunger Free America has honored MLK's life work with action-oriented service and we're proud to be a supporter. The 2021 Serve-A-Thon will focus on a series of virtual workshops addressing the intersectionality of food justice followed by a virtual service activity with a non-profit partner organization.

Remarks from Rev. Dr. Susan E. Young, Director of the Office for Religious & Spiritual Life

In honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, the Rev. Dr. Susan Young, Director of the Office for Religious & Spiritual Life, offers a reflection on how Dr. King's prophetic words in "Letter from Birmingham Jail" are just as important for us today as they were when he first wrote them in 1963. As we reflect upon the events in Washington, D.C., we encourage you to read Rev. Dr. Young's address and access Dr. King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" by clicking here.

The MLK Serve-A-Thon will take place January 18th through 19th. CLICK HERE for the Oxy Volunteer Hub and sign-up for workshops/activities that most interest you.

List of Workshops and Non-Profit Facilitators

Food Justice is Cultural Diversity
This workshop will be co-hosted by Rabbi Shlomo Nisanov of Kehilat Sephardim Food Pantry, discussing culturally appropriate food assistance and the impact of faith on service. The workshop and dialogue will be followed by a virtual social media content creation project.

Food Justice is Racial Justice
Learn about the racial wealth gap through a simulation with Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore. The workshop and dialogue will be followed by Social Media Ambassadors activity.

Food Justice is WIC Justice
Learn about WIC benefits (Women, Infants, and Children) with Lily Dosina, Andrea Quintana, and Caridad Robles of Hunger Free America. The workshop and dialogue will be followed with a virtual service activity; Hunger Free America's Phone Banking for Child Nutrition Outreach.

Food Justice is Health Justice
Learn about health equity with Empowering the Masses. The workshop and dialogue will be followed by an activity of virtual support through posting and content creation for Health Equity Training.

Food Justice is Interfaith Collaboration (Teens)
This workshop targeted to teens, will be co-hosted by Ilana Ascher of Repair the World, discussing how service can become a core component of self identity and service and interfaith collaboration can create a more just community. The workshop and dialogue will be followed by phone banking for Child Nutrition with Hunger Free America. Volunteers will help increase awareness in communities in NYC around vital nutrition benefits that could help families and individuals, such as pandemic-EBT, SNAP and WIC.

Food Justice is Housing Justice
This workshop will be co hosted by Jennifer Fontaine and Amber Johnston from Upper Valley Haven, discussing the intersections of food justice and housing justice. The workshop and dialogue will be followed by a virtual social media content creation project to support Upper Valley Haven.

Food Justice is Interfaith Collaboration
This workshop will be co-hosted by Ilana Ascher of Repair the World, discussing how service can become a core component of self identity and service and interfaith collaboration can create a more just community. The workshop and dialogue will be followed by phone banking for Child Nutrition with Hunger Free America. Volunteers will help increase awareness in communities in NYC around vital nutrition benefits that could help families and individuals, such as pandemic-EBT, SNAP and WIC.

Food Justice Cultivated in Participatory Systems
Learn about building participatory systems in food justice work, as well as economic and racial justice with Hayden Dansky of Boulder Food Rescue. The workshop and dialogue will be followed with a virtual service activity; Hunger Free America's COVID Food Assistance Project.

Food Justice is Immigration Justice
This workshop will be co-hosted by Sister Ana Zamora of St. Jerome HANDS Community Center, discussing how issues of food insecurity intersect with those of immigration and language. The workshop and dialogue will be followed a virtual social media content creation project. *This discussion will be conducted in Spanish with an English-speaking translator.*

Food Justice is Mutual-Aid
This workshop will be co-hosted by Liam Elkind of Invisible Hands Deliver, discussing the mutual-aid model, community building, and access to food assistance. The workshop and dialogue will be followed by a social media content creation volunteer service project.

Prison Food Justice is Food Justice
Learn about prison food justice and Impact Justice's recent report, "Eat Behind Bars: Ending the Hidden Punishment of Food in Prison" with Mika Weinstein and Leslie Soble. The workshop and dialogue will be followed with a virtual service activity; Hunger Free America's COVID Food Assistance Project.

Food Justice is Housing Justice with POTS Bronx
This workshop will be co-hosted by Juan of Part of the Solution, Bronx, discussing how issues of food insecurity intersect with those of housing rights. The workshop and dialogue will be followed volunteer service project to make advocacy calls to your elected officials, sharing your housing and food justice concerns. **If you are an AmeriCorps participant, please note this workshop will contain advocacy service, a prohibited activity.**

Food Justice is Partnership Building
Learn about the intersectionality of Food, Health, and Economy in Central Oregon with High Desert Food & Farm Alliance. The workshop and dialogue will be followed by the National Phone Banking for Food Access virtual activity.

Conscious Volunteerism brings Food Justice
Sociable by Nature: How Sharing A Daily Meal Helps Build a More Just World with Hollywood Food Coalition - The workshop and dialogue will be followed by virtual guided exercise for participants on how to get involved in their local nonprofits and expand their sense of how they can do more in their communities.

Food Justice is Food Policy
This workshop will feature Heather Bruskin of Montgomery County Food Council (MoCo), Michael Wilson of Maryland Hunger Solutions, and Joel Berg of Hunger Free America. The discussion will address Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy in 2021 and food policy on the national, state and local levels. The workshop and dialogue will be followed by a social media content creation volunteer service project.

Food Justice is Human Right
No One Should Go to Bed Hungry with Martha's Kitchen - The workshop and dialogue will be followed by a virtual social media service activity with the goal of building relations and strengthen the work of local nonprofits.

For more information or to connect regarding Oxy's participation in the MLK 2021 Serve-A-Thon, email mrodriguez6@oxy.edu


The Intercultural Community Center and Office of Religious & Spiritual Life have curated a list of MLK celebrations happening across the country. Please consider viewing these events before, after, or between our MLK 2021 Serve-A-Thon workshops/activities. 

MLK Celebrations List Compiled by the ICC and ORSL

Friday, January 15, 2021

The YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, the LA Dodgers and the Dodgers Foundation are presenting the 50th Annual Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Brotherhood Celebation at 9:00 am featuring guest speakers. Registration is required. MLK Jr 50th Brotherhood Celebration

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Sweet Honey in the Rock will host MLK Day Celebration Reclaiming Beloved Community concerts at the Lincoln Theater in Washington, DC at 3:00 pm EST and 8:00 pm EST. Tickets for each concert are $15.00; individuals can purchase a bundle pass for $50.00 to attend both two concerts and a conversation with Sweek Honey in the Rock. Click here for Sweet Honey in the Rock Tickets.

Monday, January 18, 2021

WNYC and the Apollo Theater (NYC) will present the 15th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration, “MLK and the Fierce Urgency of Now,” as part of the Apollo’s Uptown Hall series, on Monday, January 18 at 3:00 pm EST. This year’s digital version of the MLK Apollo Uptown Hall will unpack the implications of the 2020 US Presidential Election through the prisms of civil rights and modern day social justice movements. There will be in-depth interviews and narrative exploration with political leaders, authors, artists, and activists, to examine Dr. Martin Luther King’s civil rights philosophy, tactics, challenges and triumphs within the lens of today’s social and political climate. Tune in Monday, January 18th on the Apollo Digital Stage & Facebook Live at 3:00 pm ET. Featured guests include:

  • Congressman James E. Clyburn, Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from South Carolina
  • Reverend Dr. William Barber, II, President of Repairers of the Breach and Co-Chair of The Poor People’s Campaign
  • Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Jr., Civil Rights activist and Co-Founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
  • Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and creator of The New York Times’ 1619 Project
  • Letitia James, Attorney General for the State of New York
  • Dr. Uche Blackstock, Yahoo! News Medical Contributor and Founder & CEO of Advancing Health Equity
  • Dr. Jeff Gardere, Associate Professor of Behavioral Medicine at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Queen Afua, Five-time best-selling author and CEO of the Queen Afua Wellness Center
  • Leslé Honoré, Blaxican artist and activist, who will read from her book of poems Fist & Fire

For more information: Apollo Theater Event or Event Information

The California African American Museum is sponsoring a full day of events including an airing of Dr. King’s famous speech against the Vietnam War, speaker panels, and a closing concert. The events run from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm PST. There are events for children, youth and adults. Click here for CAAM Day of Events.

Ventura County, CA is hosting its 35th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day “Lives end when we are silent...Get in trouble, good trouble.” There will be a live broadcast available online through Zoom, Facebook Live, and YouTube featuring keynote speaker Tamika Jean-Baptiste, AMGEN Executive Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at 10:00 am PST. The event will be rebroadcast at a drive-in rebroadcast at 4:30 pm at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center (OPAC) located at 800 Hobson Way, Oxnard, CA 93030. Arrive early, parking is limited. Both events are free. Click here for Ventura County Events.

The Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP) is hosting the 7th Annual March to Reclaim MKL’s Radical Legacy! The event will feature a car caravan starting at the Port of Oakland on Monday, January 18 at noon PST. The caravan will make its way down International/E14 and ends in East Oakland with a short program. Specific action items: cutting Oakland Police Department’s (OPD) allocation from the General Fund by 50% (roughly $150 Million); redirecting funds to invest in housing, jobs, youth programs, restorative justice, mental health workers and other services that actually keep us safe; discontinuing unauthorized overtime by OPD; and an immediate response to the violence in our streets that is NOT rooted in the carceral state.  For more information: Day of Action on Facebook or APTP Website.

The Museum of the African American Diaspora (MOAD) is hosting a series of events for people of all ages on Monday from noon to 5:15 pm PST. Events including storybook reading for children, poetry reading and other events. All events are free and available on Youtube, Facebook and other online locations. MOAD Events

The MLK Unity Group, the Second Baptist Church and the Bethel AME Church (Chico, CA) are hosting Restoration, Reconciliation and Resilience! Chico, CA’s 40th Annual Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday from 2:00 to 4:00 pm PST. The The keynote speaker will be Rev. Loretta-Smith, Paster of the Bethel AME Church. There will also be music. The event will be broadcasted by BCAC TV Comcast Channel 11 and www.youtube.com/bcactv. For more information: Beloved Community, Chico CA.

The US National Parks Service is offering free admission to national parks throughout the country including Joshua Tree and other national parks in California on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Visitors must comply with COVID restrictions. To find out more, visit: Free National Park Admission.

Saturday, January 23

The MLK Committee in Sacramento is hosting a virtual Zoom event on Saturday, January 23 at 5 pm PST. The event includes the recognition of the 2021 MLK Essay contest winners, entertainment, panel discussion with President Robert Nelsen, President of Sacramento State, Eric Guerra, Councilmember, City of Sacramento and Cassandra Jennings, CEO, Sacramento Urban League. To register:  Sacramento Celebration


The community partners we work with have well-established relationships with SLICE or other offices (such as the UEPI and the CCBL). Because these connections are so important, we strive to sustain our partnerships by creating mutually beneficial projects and community engagement opportunities.

Traditional MLK Day(s) of Service Collaborators

Oxy Partners and Supporting Departments

Virtual/Remote Service Resources

LA Works Virtual Volunteering

Support Los Angeles from the comfort of your own home. From the #MillionMaskChallengeLA to joining a call party for Wellness Checks, the following opportunities are fun and flexible ways to serve LA remotely. Click here for more information.

Virtual Volunteer Match

Volunteer from anywhere with Volunteer Match. Explore hundreds of virtual volunteer opportunities in cause areas like health and medicine, education, and community building—that you can do from a computer, from home, or anywhere. Click here for more information.

AmeriCorps Volunteer Opportunities

Use this SEARCH TOOL to find a volunteer opportunity in your area. Yup, it's as easy as that!

Points of Light Virtual Volunteer Opportunities

When you think about volunteers, the typical image of a team or community group planting a garden, revitalizing a local park or painting a lively mural at a school comes to mind. Yet all around the globe, at any given time, thousands (if not millions) of engaged citizens volunteer virtually — using their computers, the Internet, even their smart phones.

Virtual volunteers can complete short-term or long-term tasks, in whole or in part, typically off-site from the organization or person being assisted. If you’ve got access to a computer, thousands of different volunteer projects and roles are available to you—from your home, the library, a coffee shop, anywhere with an Internet connection.

Click here for a robust resource list categorized by activity, impact area or beneficiaries.

Resources for Food Insecurity & Economic Hardship

ORSL has compiled a list of resources for individuals and families experiencing food insecurity or economic hardship due to the pandemic. CLICK HERE for more information about Food and Nutrition Assistance, Emergency Loans, and Rental Assistance Grants.


The MLK Day of Service In-Person Experience

Typically, the service day would see more than 200 students, staff, faculty, and alumni working with multiple community partners across the city of Los Angeles. Daylong projects would include canvassing, gardening, outdoor beautification and cleanup, food harvesting, library sorting, food distribution, and building/repairing homes.

2020 Schedule and Service Instructions

08:00 am - Check in & continental breakfast
08:45 am - Opening Ceremony
09:30 am - Buses depart to sites
10:00 am - Site orientation and work begins!
02:00 pm - Work concludes with lunch & reflection on site (this time will vary from site to site)
03:00 pm - Travel back to campus

A few things to remember:

  • Check in begins at 8 am at Hillside Theathre (Greek Bowl). The opening ceremony begins at 8:45 am and buses and vans will leave promptly at 9:30 am. As you can see, we have a very tight schedule so please BE ON TIME!
  • You will sign up for your site online through a seperate Site Selection link you'll receive after you submit your Registration Application. This email will include detailed list of site and project descriptions.
  • Once you arrive, find the check-in table for your site, conncet with your Site Leaders, pick up your official MLK t-shirt, grab some breakfast and lunch and find a seat in the Greek Bowl.
  • Many of the projects will take place outdoors. Please dress appropriately. CLOSE TOES SHOES ARE MANDATORY- NO FLIP FLOPS OR SANDALS! Wear comfortable clothes you don't mind getting dirty and bring a hat if you need to. We suggest layers and long pants.
  • Make sure to wear or bring sunblock.
  • Bring your own water bottle/container. Although breakfast and lunch will be provided, you need to make sure you are hydrated throughout the day.
  • We encourage the use of social media! Follow us on Instagram or twitter at @oxyslice. Tag us in your photos and use the hashtag provided.
  • Above all, bring your positive attitude! On Saturday you'll be honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and representing the College. We know you'll have fun doing both.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., social activist and minister