'Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope'

January 17, 2022

For the 29th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, 300-plus people gathered remotely and in-person to do more than 10 projects that included knitting hats and scarves to keep people in our community warm, assembling meals for the hungry and more.

Chancellor Domenico Grasso makes fleece blankets with students at the 29th Annual MLK Day of Service. Photo by Scott Soderberg
Chancellor Domenico Grasso makes fleece blankets with students at the 29th Annual MLK Day of Service. Photo by Scott Soderberg

For nearly three decades, volunteers have come together for UM-Dearborn’s MLK Day of Service to work toward creating positive change throughout metropolitan Detroit in the name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy.

And the work continues.

The annual service-day event, which is a partnership between UM-Dearborn and Henry Ford College, included more than 10 volunteer projects that took place throughout Southeastern Michigan.

UM-Dearborn Chancellor Domenico Grasso, who greeted participants working in campus’ Fairlane Center packing meal kits, making blankets and more, welcomed participants to a “day-on” that honors King.

“It’s been 54 years since Dr. King was assassinated and we still live in a society of unequal privilege and opportunity,” Grasso said. “Here at UM-Dearborn we are committed to being a gateway of opportunity for everyone who has the talent and potential and drive to want to be successful.” View his video message here.

Volunteers were among the more than 300 people gathering both in spirit remotely and at in-person sites to knit hats and scarves to keep people in our community warm, assembled meals for the hungry and more. See more images from the day.

Students pack meal kits in Fairlane Center North for the Kids Coalition Against Hunger. Photo by Scott Soderberg
Students pack meal kits in Fairlane Center North for the Kids Coalition Against Hunger. Photo by Scott Soderberg

Junior Allysa Decato, a political science major and Delta Phi Epsilon president, spent the day at Detroit’s Arts & Scraps, where they created 400-plus STEM kits for children at local schools and in the community. She said an Alternative Spring Break experience in Memphis she had as a UM-Dearborn freshman inspired her to volunteer.

“We stopped at the Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was shot and killed. It makes an impact on you when you see it — it’s so surreal. We saw his hotel room door, the stuff that was left in his room, and listened to the people share stories about Dr. King at the Civil Rights Museum,” she said. “He died because of his message. So what can I do to keep his message alive?”

MLK Day of Service 2022 participants went to Detroit's Arts & Scraps where they put together more than 400 STEM-based art projects. Photo by Allysa Decato
MLK Day of Service 2022 participants went to Detroit's Arts & Scraps where they put together more than 400 STEM-based art projects. Photo by Allysa Decato

UM-Dearborn’s Executive Director for Facilities Operations Carol Glick spent her day at Forgotten Harvest in Oak Park with Dearborn Wolverine students and alumni. They packed nearly 2,800 pounds of food to feed the community.

Glick said she looks forward to volunteering annually because it’s important to find ways to connect with people in our communities and to engage in concrete activities that help to make things better.

Participants packed nearly 2800 pounds of food at Forgotten Harvest. Photo by Carol Glick
Participants packed nearly 2800 pounds of food at Forgotten Harvest. Photo by Carol Glick

“During these times, it’s easy to become isolated and caught in our own bubble where it might feel like everything is a crisis. But then you step back and see what’s important in a larger context — like families having access to food,” Glick said. “I believe in Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream that someday we will have a society where the content of our characters is more important than the colors of our skin. It’s important to not lose sight of his dream.”

MLK Day of Service Co-Chair Shareia Carter said the MLK Day of Service planning committee chose Dr. King’s quote, “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope” because his words stood out after the challenges the world continues to face with the pandemic.

“Rolling into 2022, we are all clinging to hope. I think people continue to be so invested in campus’ MLK Day of Service because it lights something within you. It’s more than doing good — it’s carrying on the legacy of Dr. King and his work for justice for peace,” Carter said. “I see the day as the light for the torch for us to carry into the rest of the year’s 11 months. And light is something we all could use more of in our lives.”

Want additional ways to honor Dr. King’s legacy? Check out UM-Dearborn’s MLK Week of Events.

CALLING IN THE CALL OUT CULTURE
3:30-5 p.m. Tuesday, Online. Register here.
Loretta Ross — nationally-recognized expert on racism and racial justice, women's rights, and human rights — leads a discussion on challenging the Call Out culture of social justice movements and academic spaces in order to build a united human rights movement. Check out the VictorsLink page.

CHANGE IT UP!: BYSTANDER INTERVENTION TRAINING
There are two online Change it Up Curriculum sessions.
• Faculty/Staff Session, 1-2:30 p.m. Wednesday via Zoom. Register hereCheck out the event listing.
• Student Session, 2:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesday via Zoom. Register here. Learn more about the event in VictorsLink.

PEACE RALLY
Noon-1 p.m. Thursday, Meet at the UM-Dearborn University Center. Register here.
Join the Peace Rally walk from UM-Dearborn's University Center to the Henry Ford College Student Center. Speakers include Mayor Abdullah Hammoud and Henry Ford College sociologist Kalvin DaRonne Harvell. Learn more about the event on VictorsLink.