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Answering Dr. King’s Call to Action

Watching the unspeakable suffering the Haitian people are experiencing this week due to the earthquake, I’m reminded of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his Letter from Birmingham Jail.  He wrote, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”

The outpouring of humanitarian efforts in Haiti, particularly by American doctors, nurses, students, faith communities, and businesses has only reinforced my belief in Dr. King’s words. I’m heartened and inspired seeing ordinary citizens respond to tragedy and need with determined action.  You can do the same here.

Today, we honor Dr. King’s civil rights legacy in a National Day of Service. Fittingly, the King Day of Service will include thousands of community service projects spread across all 50 states, including serving meals, refurbishing schools and community centers, collecting clothing, building shelter for seniors, and reading to children, with many more projects starting today and lasting throughout the year.

Community service is the perfect way to honor Dr. King. He devoted his life to advancing equality, social justice, and opportunity for all, and challenged us to play a role in transforming our communities.

Yet, forty years after Dr. King’s death, we still have work to do to realize his dream: Here in Connecticut, 99,580 children live in poverty, 7% of Connecticut’s workers are unemployed, and millions more families are suffering from the economic downturn.

As I’ve traveled the state in the last year exploring my candidacy for Governor, I’m met with countless Connecticut “community heroes” who have answered the call to action and are tackling serious problems in Connecticut with ingenuity and tenacity. These are folks who recognize that government can’t do it alone, especially in these harsh economic times.

Today, I will be in Cromwell, New Britain, West Hartford and Hartford honoring the work of some of Connecticut’s community heroes, including the St. Vincent DePaul Place & the Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletown, which provided over 307,000 meals to individuals and families in need in 2009.

In the months ahead, I hope we can work together to empower individuals, bridge barriers, and advance social justice in Connecticut. But it is your ideas, energy, and creativity that will make the difference.  I urge you to answer the call to action in your community.

Planning to volunteer on the King National Service Day or in the weeks ahead? Tell me about it on myFacebook page here.

Dan Malloy