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The City of Antioch organized a cleanup drive at four of its parks on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. The cleanups took place at Prewett Park, Antioch Community Park, Gentrytown Park and Waldie Plaza.
Prewett Park witnessed the highest number of volunteers — 52 — with about 35 of them from the Champions Martial Arts Academy for its first community service project.
Patricia Vergara’s 6-year-old daughter Ariella Filiyau was one of the academy students cleaning up the park. “The academy always holds its ceremonies here, so my daughter has been here a lot. She was very excited to wake up early in the morning and use her holiday to clean this place,” Vergara said.
Among the volunteers helping clean up the parks were women representing GirlTrek, a national health advocacy organization for African American women and girls, along with City Council members Monica Wilson and Lori Ogorchock.
The celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a day of service in Antioch came into being in 2018 with an effort to paint over a graffitied wall on A Street at the corner of Sunset Drive.
“Martin Luther King was a man of service, so we thought, why don’t we do service that day?,” said Wilson, who represents District 3. “A bunch of us went out and painted that wall to prepare it for artwork. We also had people doing some weeding and planting trees, just in the areas that needed some extra love.”
The wall now holds the “Love Conquers All” mural, painted by the community under the supervision of artists and brothers Hermain and Joshua Ambriz.
The City of Antioch has been holding a day of service on the holiday to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ever since.