In August of 1963, 19-year-old Beverley M., took a road trip with her sister to Washington D.C., where she heard Martin Luther King, Jr., deliver his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. A volunteer in Northeast Denver, we talked with Beverly about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, legacy today and why it’s important to honor him through community service.
Tell us about what it was like to be on the Mall while Martin Luther King spoke?
I particularly remember the quietness that came over the people when he began speaking. At the time, I was living in Boston, and my sister brought me down to Washington D.C. At the time, I hadn’t heard of Martin Luther King. So for me it was just a chance to get away from home for awhile! So when I got [to the Mall] I hadn’t ever seen that many African Americans together in my life. I don’t think it hit me until I saw the crowds and how peaceful they were. They had a purpose in mind and were determined. I realized that this was an important, historic event.
Why is it important to honor his legacy today through community service?
I think it’s what Martin Luther King stood for. He stood for knowing your community and the importance of getting to know your neighbors. You don’t talk to your neighbor about whether they’re a Republican or Democrat, you talk to them about their lives. I think that’s why it’s important.
I also think we should honor him because he laid the groundwork for where we are today. By participating on Monday, I think it’s a great honor because we are saying we understand what Martin Luther King was trying to do for us.
You’re part of a Neighborhood Team in Denver. Why did you decide to volunteer for the campaign?
I started volunteering for the campaign in ‘08 because I was hoping to help elect a black president. I loved hearing him speak and agreed with what he was saying. So I felt motivated to get up and do something instead of just complaining. Now I think it’s important to volunteer again because it’s not about making history but keeping the history we’ve made.
Beverly will be participating in a march to honor Martin Luther King in downtown Denver on Monday. Interested in coming out to help neighbors and honor him? Find an event in your community and RSVP today.