On Monday, Jan. 15, the country will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The national holiday is the only holiday designated as a day of service. As such, Americans are encouraged to give back to their communities in any way possible. In Flagstaff, there are many volunteer opportunities as well as other events in honor of the civil rights icon.

Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University's Black Student Union will host its 31st annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration. This year's theme is "The Fight that Never Ended", which is centered around the conversation of the current political climate and the activism and education being fostered within new civil rights movements in the modern generation. The full day schedule of events includes:

8-9:30 a.m. — Opening breakfast, free and welcome for the NAU and Flagstaff community, followed by a brief discussion on "Which MLK are you?" which will focus on what it means to uphold the legacy and pursue the activism that Dr. King dedicated his life to.

10-noon — BSU as well as other organizations will be headed out to serve our Flagstaff community by fulfilling several community service projects in town. To participate, email nau.bsu@gmail.com.

1 p.m. — Annual MLK Day March from Union Point to South Campus by ending at the duBois Center.

2-4 p.m. — Check out the historical displays of our historically black African American fraternities and sororities in the Leads Center.

5-7:30 p.m. — MLK Day community block party barbecue at the Murdoch Center.

Blood Drive

One way to be of service is to donate blood. United Blood Services will have a blood drive Monday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., at the Aquaplex, 1702 N. Fourth St. According to UBS, the winter holiday season is the slowest time of the year for blood donations. More blood transfusions are required from January to March, than during any other time of the year due to accidents from inclement weather and because of increased surgery schedules immediately following the holiday season. United Blood Services is the non-profit community blood center that fulfills 100 percent of the blood transfusion needs in 14 of 15 Arizona counties, including Coconino, Yavapai, Navajo, Apache, Mohave and Maricopa. Blood donors will receive a voucher for a free pizza slice and soft drink, donated by Fratelli Pizza. For more information, visit bloodhero.com.

Free parks admission

All National Park Service sites -- including Grand Canyon, Sunset Crater, Glen Canyon, etc. --will have free admission on Jan. 15 in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Many parks will host service projects on this day. 

“A national park is a meaningful place to remember and honor Dr. King, whether one participates in a day of service or visits a site with a direct connection to the man who moved hearts and minds in the struggle for civil rights and equality,” said National Park Service Deputy Director Michael T. Reynolds.

All Arizona State Parks & Trails will offer free admission for state residents during Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. Entrance fees at all state parks will be waived for all Arizona residents between Saturday, Jan. 13 and Monday, Jan. 15. Visitors must show an Arizona ID for free entrance. Fees will still apply for tours at Kartchner Caverns State Park, tours, camping, special events, and concessions.

Flagstaff Speak Up

On Wednesday, Jan. 17, Flagstaff Speak Up will host its third annual Celebration of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement. Called Local Justice & MLK, the event will begin at 4:45 p.m., at Firecreek Coffee Company, 22 E. Route 66. During the free event there will be discussions around numerous topics of injustices in Flagstaff. Vinyl recordings from the actual 1963 March on Washington will be played and the full "I have a dream" speech will be projected onto the wall.

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