SF State criminal justice majors clean-up East Bay
January 24, 2008 5:00 PM
Martin Luther King Jr. Day went from a “day off” to a “day on” as several Bay Area organizations gathered in Oakland to pay their respects in a way that would have made him proud.
Volunteers trekked through the rain to pick up trash and pull weeds around the Arroyo Viejo Park Recreation Center located in East Oakland, pulling everything from candy wrappers to an exercise machine from the Arroyo Viejo Creek. Another group restored the trails at Shepherd Canyon Park in addition to weeding and planting.
Doria Robinson, the event coordinator of the MLK National Day of Service and Celebration, said she felt proud of the program’s progress.
When asked how outdoor restoration pays tribute to King’s work, Robinson pointed out the weeds growing around the creek.
“They reproduce quickly, wiping out the diversity of other plants and animals,” she said.
Volunteers helped remove several Himalayan blackberry bushes and pampas grass in order to give the other plant life a chance to thrive.
“Looking across the room, people from all races and backgrounds were [there] together,” said Robinson, who has coordinated this event through the Watershed Project for the last year and a half. “It was an excuse to get people together who might not have otherwise.”
While many people were there with specific organizations, others came on their own accord.
“I haven’t done any community service, so it’s nice to be here and start the year off right,” said Vince Almares, a sociology major.
SF State was involved in today’s event through JusticeCorps, a community service organization dedicated to providing equal access to legal help. Members of this organization accounted for over half of the volunteers.
“Since it’s a national holiday, we take it as ‘take on day’ rather than a take off day,” said Nazgol Taie, a second year member of JusticeCorps and a criminal justice major at SF State. “It [allows] us to go out there and help our community.”
The organization gives students from four local colleges, including SF State, an opportunity to learn about different types of law, network with attorneys and volunteer within the community.
“Since all our members are students, we have them do 300 hours [of community service], which is equivalent to one full day each week for the academic year,” said Dan Siskind, the JusticeCorps coordinator for the Bay Area.
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