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At the beginning of a busy week — with a crisis in Haiti and in the thick of health care reform negotiations — President Obama will set aside much of his day Monday to remember civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and participate in the national day of service in his memory.
The president will host a conversation at the White House with African-American seniors and their grandchildren, and will speak at a concert at the Kennedy Center. He’ll also attend a public-service event in Washington, D.C.
Congress enacted a holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1983, and the holiday was officially designated a national day of service in 1994. USA Today has a slideshow of volunteer efforts around the country, and a federal government Web site has a list of volunteer opportunities.
But on Sunday, former congressman Harris Wofford of Pennsylvania — one of the original co-sponsors of the day of service legislation — told the Washington Post that the day still has a “long way to go” before it becomes the day he envisioned, although he said it took a “quantum leap” forward with the president’s renewed emphasis on the service aspect of the day last year.
“Martin Luther King was not a man asking people to go around the campfire singing ‘Kumbaya,'” Wofford said. “He would want this to be a day of all races and faiths and sectors working together, having the experience of serving alongside people of very different backgrounds.”
In other news of the day:
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