by Kayla Williamson
Along with 600 Nashville college students, Trevecca will serve during the annual Martin Luther King Day of Service on Saturday.
Around 25 places will be available for students to serve at, including Trevecca Urban Farm, Trevecca Towers, Sexual Assault Center, Adventure Science Center, Feed the Children and more.
“I really love the idea of all these students from different universities coming together as one student body,” said James Casler, director of the J.V Morsh Center for Social Justice “I think that’s in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr., that all humanity would come together to serve our brothers and sisters in the name of Christ.”
The theme for this year’s Martin Luther King Day of Service is called the Sit-ins @ 60: Students. Action. Justice.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the legendary sit-ins with Ernest Patton, Diane Nash, and other members of the Nashville Student Movement and the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference. They fought segregation by sitting at lunch counters marked “Whites Only” and enduring both verbal and violent physical attacks, eventually accomplishing their goal.
Patton will be the Keynote speaker for this year’s event. Last year he spoke during a Monday night chapel service at Trevecca, sharing his memories of Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement.
“It’s an amazing event to be a part of,” Casler said. “You walk into a gym with six or 700 other college students and it feels like your part of a movement to create social change.”
Daniel Neiderhiser, who graduated in 2015 and partners with Trevecca through AmeriCorps Vista, said he is looking forward to the Martin Luther King Day of Service. Even though Trevecca has participated in the Martin Luther King Day of Service for the past eight years, this is the second year that Trevecca has given students Martin Luther King Day off.
“I think it’s long overdue and I’m very excited that Trevecca is finally observing it as a federal holiday,” Neiderhiser said. “Honoring not just Martin Luther King himself, but the whole civil rights movement is really important and it’s a big part of history.”
Other Nashville area college students attending the event will be from Belmont University, Vanderbilt University, Lipscomb University, Meharry Medical College, Nashville State Community College, Tennessee State University and Fisk University.
“When you see the Martin Luther King Day of Service, you’ll see students from all different parts of the world, and all different races, and all different economic backgrounds coming together in the spirit of serving,” Casler said. “That’s the beauty of this project.”