In one of his last acts as California Democratic Party Chairman, State Senator (ret.) Art Torres reminds everyone that community service is a central pillar in President Barack Obama's administration. In fact he is incorporating community service into this week's State Convention in Sacramento in a major way. It is now time for African Americans to also answer President Obama's call to service in a big way.
"Over two decades ago, I found my calling working in a community devastated by steel-plant closings. My story is not unique. Generations of Americans have connected their stories to the larger American story through service and helped move our country forward."
Time Magazine, Barack Obama, September 11, 2008
We must all find our calling. We must all give back and make sacrifices to ensure the future for all African Americans.
What has always sustained our community is our ability to sustain ourselves. Whether it was the Middle Passage, slavery, the Great Depression, segregation, wars and the civil rights movement, African Americans banded together to help one another survive and thrive. The Great Depression of 2009 is no different than what we have overcome in the past.
That is why each of us must volunteer. President Obama has six general categories for participation, which include:
1. Environment (Non-profits, youth organizations or schools can be partnered with for vacant lot and/or park clean-ups)
2. Hunger/Homelessness (Volunteer at faith-based organizations, charity groups, or national service organizations by serving food and providing clothing)
3. Health (Volunteer at hospitals, non-profits, or schools by participating at blood drives, bone marrow drives and in hospitals)
4. Education/Youth (Volunteer at schools, colleges, or youth organizations by tutoring, mentoring or volunteering in a classroom or maintenance at a school)
5. Civic engagement (Volunteer at government agencies or elected officials by teaching children civics and civic participation)
6. Military/Veterans (Volunteer at government agencies or veteran hospitals at the USO, a local veterans' center, or assisting military families)
While there are several worthy well-known organizations that you can commit your time to like the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Los Angeles Urban League, the Brotherhood Crusade and NAACP, remember there are hundreds lesser known organizations that also need you help.
Let's heed our Presidents call to service and find your calling.
The Black Community Must Answer Obama's Call To Service.
Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. is Chairman of the Board of Director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.