Many events took place on Monday throughout the United States to remember civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. The government website devoted to the day asked citizens to honor King by pledging to take at least 25 steps during 2011 to make a difference for other people and improve their own communities. Many people across the country took the call to service seriously. Among January 17th's many initiatives, here is a sampling:
- About 20 Roanoke students from William Fleming and Patrick Henry high school and Woodrow Wilson and James Madison middle schools joined forces to clean the women and children's shelter at the Rescue Mission in Southeast Roanoke.
- In Iowa, about 150 people helped out at Trinity Episcopal Church’s third annual Shelter from the Storm service project at the downtown Iowa City church. Activities included filling toiletry bags, knitting scarves and hats, and baking goods to give to residents at the Shelter House.
- Many families in the Hudson Valley spent the day volunteering with UlsterCorps, an initiative to create connections between volunteers and programs in Ulster County. Its new Serve Together program included a series of events such as Volunteer Day at Rondout Valley Animals for Adoption.
In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through nonviolent means. He was assassinated in 1968. A national holiday to honor King was initially observed in 1986, and in 1994 it was additionally designated as a nationwide day of service.