Philadelphia, January 17, 2011-The main event for the 16th Annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service took place in the Armory at Girard College where hundreds of volunteers gathered to refurbish computers, put together training packets, and help introduce families and students to the Internet.
“The computer is your passport, not only to the future but to knowing what’s going around you,” said Mayor Nutter who volunteered nervously to refurbish a computer. “Whatever computer I’m working on I want to make sure someone who knows what they’re doing looks at it afterward.”
The Philadelphia King Day of Service is again the largest King Day event in the nation and comes on the 25th anniversary of the King federal holiday.
The city is participating in the Freedom Rings Partnership, a $25 million federally funded project that will eventually deliver 5,000 computers in the next few years to people in the city who have never had access before.
Currently 41 percent of city residents have no Internet access.
The Freedom Rings project includes a “Race to Connect,” an event that ties the legacy of Dr. King with the importance of getting connected via the Internet.
Dozens of additional King Day events were being presented at public schools throughout the region.
“Dr King said, ‘Life’s persistent and most urgent question is, what are you doing for others,'” said Todd Bernstein, director of the Philadelphia day of service. “The selfless action of more than 75,000 citizen volunteers serving today and continuing throughout the year represents a resounding and affirmative answer to Dr. King’s question.”