VISTA Members Honor MLK Through Service

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Release Date: 
Monday, January 27, 2020

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

             - Martin Luther King, Jr.

As a part of Defending Communities in Service, NLADA’s VISTA members serve to advance justice by building capacity in public defender offices every day. From VISTA members improving case management systems to coordinating know your rights trainings for people experiencing homelessness to connecting people to resources at bail review, VISTA members get things done.

Martin Luther King Jr. upheld justice through service to his community. He ministered, lead, and partnered with people across the globe. His dream and work towards equal treatment of Black and African American people is still unfinished 52 years after his assassination. To work towards his unrealized goal, we need strong holistic public defense. Public defense remains obstructed by a lack of resources and ingrained racism in the criminal justice and economic systems. During this year’s 25th anniversary of MLK Day, a Day On for AmeriCorps members, to honor Dr. King’s legacy our VISTA members engaged in 13 projects and contributed over 40 hours of service. Read on to learn more about how they’ve advanced justice in their communities and how the ways that they chose to honor Dr. King.

  In Lexington, Kentucky, VISTA Alaina coordinated the Department of Advocacy’s participation in the Freedom March to honor MLK Jr. Even with temperatures of 13 degrees, thousands of people marched and cheered. 

In Connecticut, VISTA Tyler sorted and mailed out books to incarcerated people through Connecticut Prison Book Connection. Books give people a chance to increase vocational skills, learn about their legal rights, and provide a mental escape from the harsh realities of prison. These benefits are crucial to reentry.  





In Baltimore, Maryland, VISTA Lizzie served breakfast at Manna House. In Lizzie’s neighborhood, Manna House serves many of the same clients as the Maryland Public Defenders daily.