On Monday, January 18th, 2021 the Downtown Capacity Builder’s DCI VISTA team participated in MLK service day as “A Day On, Not a Day Off,” in a virtual capacity with VISTAs from Community Resource Center (CRC) and Colorado Nonprofit Development Center (CNDC). The day included digital transcription for History Colorado, with an option from three varying projects. The three projects included Out of the Archives, Colorado Women’s Suffrage, and medical advertisements.

The DCI VISTA team committed to 2 hours of digital transcription, which was then followed by a service day reflection event which had a turnout of 14 VISTAs from the varying VISTA teams, with 6 of the attendees being from DCI’s team. 

The service reflection event included introductions, and then we watched some Martin Luther King videos together. The two videos included Rare Video Footage of Historic 1965 Marches and NBC Interview: MLK Talks New Phase of Civil Rights Struggle  . Following the viewing of the videos we went into three breakout rooms which included 

    • Ice breaker/ get to know each other Room
      Name, VISTA position, what have you been filling your time with during the pandemic, what is one of your passions
      • What was your biggest takeaway from the MLK videos you watched?
        • What is one of the most impactful legacies MLK has left on our society, and how do his teachings apply to today’s world?

        • The breakout rooms encouraged conversation, increased participation and sharing of ideas. Some of the major takeaways from reflection on the MLK videos was the way in which MLK’s points made in 1967 that needed to change and topics that needed to be addressed, are topics that still need to be addressed today. Many of the topics that need to be addressed have been further highlighted, and more people became aware of through the COVID-19 pandemic.

          Following the breakout rooms, the VISTAs reconvened and completed a short service day survey, with feedback from the day and written reflection on why one chooses to serve.

          What was the most impactful part of your day of service?

          “I really enjoyed talking with other vistas about social justice and how we can continue forward with our own commitments to building capacity and eliminating poverty. As a historian, I really love that part of our service was transcribing materials because it truly helps historical work and it makes historical information more accessible for all.”

          “Listening to MLK speak in the videos - not only is he a master of language, the themes and messages still apply today.”

          “Watching the MLK Jr. interview and reflecting on it was most impactful - a lot of what he said connects directly to what we are seeing and living through now.”

          Why do you serve?

          “I serve because there is so much important work found within the non-profits of the U.S. I'm proud to complete a year of service for my organization.” 

          “To serve the community and make a direct impact to those who live in the community.”

          “I serve because I want to make education more just and equitable for all in this country. In a lot of ways, education is liberation and I truly hope that I can help to make education more accessible and equitable.”

          The Downtown Capacity Builder’s DCI VISTA team, who commit to a year of service, were happy to participate in the MLK day of service, with people across Colorado and across the United States. MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.

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