Several groups in Jackson County have created projects to participate in the MLK Day of Service.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Day of Service. The tone of the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday changed in 1994. It was then Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act assigning King’s holiday as a national day of service. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the only federal holiday designated as a nationwide day of service. The motto is “A day on, not a day off.”

Western Carolina University has events scheduled throughout the week to honor King and give students and residents a chance to give back or inform themselves of the ongoing struggles for people of color. 

On Jan. 20 the school will host the MLK Jr. Unity March from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

The march is designed to inspire “community leaders, faculty, staff and students in efforts to live out the ideals and values that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. held and believed in,” according to a WCU press release.

On Jan. 21 the college will host “Let’s Talk Colorism, Black Student Union Speak and Paint” from 6-8 p.m. in the UC Grand Room. While painting, students have the opportunity to hear from the BSU on the topic of colorism, racism based on skin color or skin tone, and “building strong communities based on cooperation and unity.”

On Jan. 22 WCU hosts Oralene Simmons from 7-9 p.m. at the Bardo Performing Arts Center. Simmons will discuss “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Legacy of Connection: The Story of U.S.”

On Jan. 23 the school will host Indivisible Not Invisible: Focus on Mental Health for Poor, Marginalized, and People of Color from 6-8 p.m. in the UC Multipurpose Room. The presentation is,” An exploration of individual and societal stigmas that are derived from bias” and how those biases affect mental health.

On Jan. 24 WCU will host the National Coalition Building Institute, which will hold a workshop from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Blue Ridge Conference Room.

On Jan. 20 Friends of the Library Bookstore will be closed for cleaning. Volunteers and students from WCU’s Center for Community Engagement will tidy up the store. From Jan. 17 to 19 the bookstore will hold a half-price sale for Friends of the Library members to reduce inventory. Memberships will be available at the door. The shop benefits the Jackson County Public Library.

On Jan. 25 Tuckaseigee Chapter of Trout Unlimited will hold a cleanup of Scotts Creek at 8 a.m.