Many residents in Newark and around the Bay Area are spending Martin Luther King Jr. Day working, volunteering and reflecting on the civil rights leader.
Monday marks the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day that commemorates King's life and legacy.
In 1994, Congress declared the federal holiday a national day of service to pay tribute to the man who famously said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"
In Newark, some businesses are staying open on this national holiday. Newark Patch checked in with shoppers at the to find out their plans for the holiday.
Shopper Debbie Fitz says she works at a doctor’s office. According to Fitz, the office is open for business Monday.
“At least I won't hit much traffic," Fitz said with a laugh. Fitz also volunteers with an organization that works to fight for freedoms and human rights called "Youth for Human Rights."
Fitz says programs like these would make King happy knowing that people were continuing to fight for equal rights.
Newark resident David Mauer said the world has changed from the King’s time, when hundreds of thousands of people marched for voting rights in Washington D.C.
"I think we have come a long way," said Newark resident David Mauer. "I think Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., would be very happy about the state of civil rights currently.”
Future bride Robin Kune says she doesn't have to work on Monday. During her shopping trip at the farmers market, Kune said she’s getting a massage on the holiday as well as doing some wedding planning. She also said she is catching up on housework.
Friends Sarah Clark and Rebecca Silver are taking it easy with their day off.
"No real plans at this moment, but we will probably just end up hanging out, maybe having a few people over," Silver said.
From Bay City News: Bay Area Residents Take Part in National Day of Service to Honor MLK
Bay Area residents are coming out in droves today to honor the late Martin Luther King Jr. by volunteering.
In San Francisco, volunteers gathered around the city to help with gardening, tree-planting and litter cleanup activities, Department of Public Works spokeswoman Christine Falvey said.
Assemblyman Paul Fong and NBC Bay Area weathercaster Cristina Loren are working with volunteers in Santa Clara to clean up and restore the Ulistac Natural Area.
The city of Richmond is working with local organizations to host "Make It a Day ON in Richmond," in which volunteers help cultivate urban farms and school gardens. "Martin Luther King devoted his life to advancing equality, social justice, and opportunity for all, and taught us that everyone has a role to play in making America what it ought to be," Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said in a statement.
Kaiser Permanente employees and physicians are taking part in their seventh annual day of volunteerism, spokeswoman Laura Dunn said. Rather than taking a day off for the holiday, employees take part in a "day on" of volunteering. This year, they will be distributing hundreds of coats to those in need at City Team Ministries in Oakland, Dunn said.
Sonoma County is also embracing the idea of a "day on, not a day off," County spokeswoman Donna LaGraffe said. Sonoma County Regional Parks will host an event at Foothill Regional Park in Windsor where volunteers will help remove invasive plants that threaten the oak woodlands.
Palo Alto Mayor Sid Espinosa is calling for residents to take part in the numerous volunteer opportunities in his city including food and coat drives, visiting senior citizens, habitat restoration, and pet adoption. "There's something for everyone," Espinosa said.
Many organizations are hoping today will be a springboard for service throughout the year, said Doria Robinson, executive director of Urban Tilth, a Richmond-based food and farming organization. "By working together day in and day out...we can sow the seeds for a better, healthier, and stronger community," Robinson said.