AmeriCorps CEO Calls on Americans to Build a Beloved Community through Service on MLK Day

AmeriCorps calls on the nation to bring communities together, help others stand together against hate, build bridges, and heal divides to honor Dr. King’s legacy

Washington, DC, Jan. 15, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- To commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service, AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith released the following statement:
“It is the honor of a lifetime to lead AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteering and help advance President Biden’s goals for a more united, equitable America.  
“Service forces us to get comfortable with discomfort and come to terms with a powerful truth: what we have in common is stronger than the forces that try to divide us. We see this all the time.

“On days of service like today, when people who live just a zip code apart are meeting for the first time to pack meals for those who face food insecurity. Or when AmeriCorps members show up to rebuild after a disaster, meeting people from different faiths or races for the first time in their lives. 

“As Dr. King says: “You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

“Service gives us a chance to try new things, meet new people, and embrace discomfort. To peel back the layers of our long-held beliefs and recognize our shared humanity.  In the wake of violence and natural disasters, in the face of generational poverty and unjust systems and amid a youth mental health crisis, AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers run towards the heartbreak and destruction. We choose to embrace discomfort and embrace each other—to build the Beloved Community that Dr. King envisioned for us all.  

“As Dr. King used to say, the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice. And we know—it does not bend on its own. We must choose to step up for our communities, step outside our echo-chamber, and step into a life of service.”


AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, provides opportunities for Americans to serve their country domestically, address the nation’s most pressing challenges, improve lives and communities, and strengthen civic engagement. Each year, the agency places more than 200,000 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers in intensive service roles; and empowers millions more to serve as long-term, short-term, or one-time volunteers. Learn more at

AmeriCorps offers opportunities for individuals of all backgrounds to be a part of the national service community, grow personally and professionally, and receive benefits for their service. Learn how to get involved at


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