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King's Words Put Into Practice in Stamford

Analiette Rodriguez scooped up a serving spoonful of salad dressing and spread it over a bowl of crisp veggies. The 11-year-old was putting her all into a new experience, helping serve lunch at Stamford’s Pacific House homeless shelter Saturday afternoon.

“I wanted to participate, and I wanted to make people happy,” said Analiette, a Trailblazers Academy sixth-grader. “I do like cooking and going out for food, [and] I get to spend time with people that I don’t know.”

Analiette was among scores of local volunteers for the Day of Service coinciding with the King Day holiday. Pacific House was one of several Stamford locations where they conducted afternoon community-service projects.

Before heading out, they gathered in the Trailblazers auditorium for a program of skits, poetry, song, dance and historical facts and perspective. For youngsters like Analiette, it was a way to get in touch with realities occurring before they were born. For adults like Francine Williams-Boyd -- who has a daughter about Analiette’s age -- it was personal.

“I took my first trip South in 1967 to a funeral, and actually experienced first-hand what Dr. King was talking about,” said Williams-Boyd. When the family stopped at a restaurant they were told, “We don’t serve [ N-word ] in here,” Williams-Boyd recalled. She was 6 years old.

“It made a big impact on me.”

Most upsetting was seeing how her father reacted. He didn’t.

“Nothing was said. I said, ‘Mommy why was that?’ She said, ‘Baby, we’re south of the border, and the rules change.”

Seeing enthusiasm for the Day of Service was heartwarming, said Williams-Boyd.

“This is a great event. It’s just good to see people taking the day and doing something with it, whatever change they can make, no matter how small it is.”

Did you participate in yesterday’s Day of Service? What did you do? Are you going to spend part of the King Day holiday on Monday putting King’s words into practice?

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