To honor the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, LGBTs and allies will gather in the Gayborhood next week for a day of volunteer activities benefiting a number of area organizations.
William Way LGBT Community Center will serve as home base for the Team Bayard event, noon-5 p.m. Jan. 20, which will pay tribute to out civil-rights activist Bayard Rustin, an associated of King.
The event will begin at the center, 1315 Spruce St., with registration from noon-12:30 p.m., where volunteers can sign up for various service projects.
The event was cultivated by several community leaders, including GO!Athletes executive director Anna Aagenes and community activist Anthony Fluellen.
According to Aagenes, organizers reached out to Global Citizen 365, the host of the Greater Philadelphia MLK Day of Service, to generate ideas on what the LGBT community could do to contribute to the day.
Aagenes said the service projects will involve everything from writing letters to inmates with Hearts on A Wire to helping GALAEI organize its hygiene-kit donations to a clothing drive for Philly AIDS Thrift to cleaning up the streets in the Gayborhood.
Aagenes said the group hopes to have about 100 people turn out, but more volunteers would always be welcomed.
To tailor the event even more to the LGBT community, the group decided to pay tribute to Rustin, a West Chester native.
“We wanted to honor someone local and bring the idea that this is more than just a day of service. It is for all communities and we are trying to recognize many types of service within the LGBT community,” Aagenes said. “Much of our community is involved in many different things and may not do service together because a lot of our work centers around activism. As a community, we go off on our own projects and it would be nice to come together.”
A reception will honor Rustin at the center from 4-5 p.m.
Fluellen is organizing volunteers from his Lincoln University fraternity Delta Phi Upsilon, of which Rustin is an honorary member.
“It means more personally because he was instrumental in the civil-rights movement and most people didn’t know that,” Fluellen said.
Aagenes said she expects the day to foster renewed community investment.
“It is hopefully an event that will help people who are looking for something to do or add to their day of service,” she said. “We are hoping it will help people connect with the community.”
Fluellen added that all volunteers, regardless of experience or community affiliation, are encouraged to pitch in.
“You don’t have to be a part of any organization. If people just have a serving heart and mind, that is all that matters.”