HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Many used the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday as a day of service around the capital city.
A few hundred people packed the Hadee Mosque on Division Street for a service to honor King’s life and legacy.
Organized by state Rep. Patty Kim (D-Dauphin) and Mike Walsh with Central Pennsylvania MLK Day, the 90-minute event boasted speeches from city officials, faith leaders, and students. Kim said it should also be a day to understand each others’ differences as a means of unity.
“Learn more about each other, our faiths, face-to-face,” she said.
Faith leaders of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism were on-hand for people to ask questions and become more knowledgeable about various religions.
Brittani Moore came with her mother and sister to the event.
“I think it’s really great,” she said. “I love it. I love seeing all the different cultures and everyone coming together, having a good time and just being together and getting ready to give service.”
Mayor Eric Papenfuse encouraged people to do big and small acts of kindness for a stranger. He said at the end of the day, people should feel good about what they have done for a neighbor.
Many youth groups and residents took part in several community service projects. The YWCA Youth Group cleaned up parks in Midtown. Volunteers packed books and toiletries for needy families.
Papenfuse and others are set to serve meals to those in need inside City Hall starting at 5 p.m.
“It’s really inspiring,” Papenfuse said. “It’s so great to see so many people out trying to engage the community and make Harrisburg a better place.”
There was also a blood drive outside of the Hadee Mosque; a symbolic means to show that life-giving red blood is the only true color that matters.
Walsh said this year’s theme stems from a King quote, one that should heal in such divisive times.
“’I’ve decided to stick with love. Hate is too great of a burden to bear.’ That is our focus this year,” he said, “bringing people together of all backgrounds, races, and religions to understand we have more in common.”