Your guide to MLK Jr. Day of Service events in Richmond

A photo from the Richmond Greenway.

The power of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy shows itself in many ways across the nation, and one of those ways is through the hundreds of local community members who gather every year to enhance the Richmond community through a day of service.

As it is every year, numerous events across the city invite folks who may have the day off of work to use the opportunity to make their community a better place to live.

Here’s a list of some ways you can take part.

Help along the Richmond Greenway

The MLK Jr. National Day of Service on the Richmond Greenway draws hundreds of volunteers annually to participate in community projects.

The Greenway is a 3-mile former railroad corridor that has transformed in recent decades – thanks to the efforts of community members and the city – into a pedestrian and bicycle pathway with parks along the route, including the brand new Unity Park, the evolving Harbour-8 Park and a public BMX course that opened just last year.

As always Monday, volunteers will join Friends of the Richmond Greenway at events at 6th Street, 8th Street, 16th Street and Carlson Boulevard. Service projects such as weeding, mulching and trash clean-up will run from 8:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., with a moment of silence and celebration from noon to 2 p.m.

Click here for the Facebook event listing.

Help envision Harbour-8 Park improvements

More improvements planned for Habour-8 Park

During Monday’s Day of Service on the Richmond Greenway, Pogo Park will unveil a full-scale, 3-D Mock-Up of proposed improvements to Harbour-8 Park on the Richmond Greenway.

The free event, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., will take place at the ever-evolving park on the Greenway between Harbour Way and 8th Street.

Community members will be able to interact with a three-dimensional, life-size replica of the proposed improvements as well as an architectural model of plans. The proposed enhancements include two Entry Gateways, a Red Brick Plaza, a Miniature Play Field, and a Senior Area/Quiet Zone.

The Harbour-8 Improvement Project represents a major step for Pogo Park Products, an innovative social enterprise that designs and builds custom play environments for the public and private sectors.

Pogo Park Products launched thanks to a $1 million grant from the Chevron eQuip Richmond Economic Revitalization Initiative, which enabled Pogo Park to secure $820,000 in contracts from the city and county for the park improvements.

The Chevron eQuip Richmond initiative includes $10 million over three years for several projects that directly address the economic needs of specific neighborhoods and their residents, including job-focused training, support for entrepreneurship, business retention and expansion and more.

Pogo Park Products accomplishes just that, employing a staff of all-Iron Triangle residents in positions that provide skills and career training, as well as opportunities to facilitate improvements in their neighborhood.

“It’s a very special day on the Richmond Greenway,” said Toody Maher, Pogo Park’s executive director. “The Harbour-8 Improvement Project has been in the works for years, and now it’s all coming together. We are excited to share our vision for the space and receive feedback from everyone.”

Ride with Rich City Rides

Rich City Rides, a headquarters and hub for Richmond’s bicycle enthusiasts and advocates, typically celebrates MLK Jr. Day of Service with bike station along the Greenway that offers repairs and giveaways.

This year, the nonprofit is taking the Day of Service to a new level as it prepares its permanent Bike Hub at Unity Park, where “people of all ages can come together to acquire and share bike repair techniques.”  

From 9 a.m. to noon, Rich City Rides is holding a Bike Hub Build Out event that will begin moving equipment into the shed at Unity Park and begin outfitting it for bike repairs and projects. The event will also have volunteers refurbishing as many bikes as possible for donation, and giveaways of an abundance of new 20-inch tires for kids’ bikes.

Richmond artist and SelfCare Sunday ride coordinator Nakari Syon will lead the creation of a mural that will be displayed on the Bike Hub’s north wall, facing the park.

After the noontime moment of silence at Unity Park, Rich City Rides will gather for the annual Unity Ride to North Richmond Farm, where more Day of Service activities will occur. At 2 p.m., the bicycle caravan will head back to Unity Park.

Last year’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for Unity Park on the Richmond Greenway took place during MLK Jr. Day of Service.

Help out at North Richmond Farm

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, join an effort to help build North Richmond Farm at 323 Brookside Drive.

The 3rd Annual event will include building new crop rows to grow more food, cleaning the swales leading to the creek, assembling new donated hoop houses, planting fruit trees, flowers and spring seed and other volunteer projects.

A DJ and performances honoring Dr. King and his legacy will entertain, and free farm fresh soups, cornbread and hot tea will nourish community volunteers.

The Richmond Farm is a project of Urban Tilth in partnership with Supervisor John Gioia’s office, Contra Costa County and Rich City Rides and has been sponsored by Republic Services, Williams Sonoma and Catahoula Coffee.

Help grow the Parchester Edible Garden

Community members are encouraged to take part in a “garden work day” at The Parchester Village Children’s Edible Garden, created by Love Your Block mini-grant recipients Patricia Duncan Hall and Raynard Lozano.

The garden work day will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 900 Williams Drive.

Established in 2016, the garden provides residents with fresh vegetables each year, including peppers, squash, and several varieties of tomatoes.

The community has since decided to dedicate the garden to late community activist Mary “Peace” Head, who was a World War II Rosie and known to many as the “Mayor of Parchester.” Monday’s garden work day is being held in preparation for that dedication, and it’s being hosted Monday by Parchester Neighborhood Council, the Office of Mayor Tom Butt, Richmond Love Your Block, Richmond Tool Library, and Parchester residents.

The work will include adding new soil to the planter boxes, planting seeds and/or seedlings, removing weeds, and spreading mulch.

Help celebrate Dr. King’s legacy in County Board Chambers

On Tuesday, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors is hosting the 41st Annual Commemoration of Dr. King’s life and legacy starting at 11 a.m. in Contra Costa County’s Board Chambers located at 651 Pine Street in Martinez.

The event, themed the “Dream Starts with Me,” will feature keynote speaker, Sheryl Lane, executive director of Building Blocks for Kids, a nonprofit organization in Richmond.

“With parents who grew up in the segregated South and moved to California for greater opportunity, Ms. Lane will share her perspectives on Dr. King’s legacy,” according to the county.

Also, the county’s Adult Humanitarian of the Year will be given to Richmond’s Rev. Donnell Jones, while the Student Humanitarian of the Year will be awarded to Pinole Valley High senior Yassna Ahmadi.

“Their stories of leadership, advocacy, and service have impacted Contra Costa County, its residents and communities, and reflect the spirit of Dr. King’s work and achievements,” the county said.

The program includes entertainment from students from Contra Costa School of Performing Arts and the Los Medanos College Gospel Choir. A buffet lunch complete with a peach cobbler dessert will follow. 

For more information about this free event, visit here. For details on past ceremonies and prior humanitarian winners, visit the Dr. King Ceremony website found in the “Community” section of Contra Costa County’s website.