The earthy and pungent fragrance of mulch and a scattering of shovels, gloves, and hoes being used by workers took over the Richmond Greenway on Monday for the 9th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
A forecast of rain resulted in the event being greatly scaled back, but still workers came out to make the most of the holiday and improve their community.
RFR was on the scene and asked a number of volunteers one question: What does the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service mean to you?
“For me, what this day means is pretty much seeing in practice what Martin Luther King was all about and fighting for. I come out here every year to see what this looks like in reality. If you look around, we’re mixed out here and are giving back to our community. This shows the reality of racial diversity. It encompasses what [King] envisioned. We’re all working together, and it motivates me. It makes me appreciate his fight."
Lynn Kevlar and Minh Dang
Lynn: "We wanted to do a day of service and be with everyone working out here. To me, it means connecting with the community and the organizers to make something better."
Minh: "For me, it’s recognizing a national holiday that’s often easy to overlook. It’s about getting out there and ling some hard work to help the community."
"This day means a lot to me. It marks the day that one of the most remarkable people who ever walked the earth was born. His legacy serves as an inspiration for generation to come. This day also gives me a sense of freedom and of work ethic, to be a part of the bigger picture that he tried to create."
"This day is great to help empower and engage people in their natural spaces for their personal health and the health of their communities. I believe that the health of a community is reflected in the health of the natural spaces in the community. Getting people engaged and to take ownership of this area to say “I planted that, or I helped that tree survive,” that can make them really care about the area. With the holiday, it’s important that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is not a holiday off, it’s a day on."
Tim Williams and Hao Tran
Tim: "It’s important to know that this project has been years in the making. We are from the US Forest Service, and we’ve been working to make this not just a green space, but an edible forest. When people come out here and work like this, it makes it so that this area will live on and become a permanent part of the community."
Hao: "Richmond is a place where things are changing, and this is where it starts."