After 2020, MLK Day brings more meaning to Houstonians looking to help

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- This MLK Day meant more to some people after dealing with a year filled with a pandemic and social injustice.

Volunteer groups took to Houston's streets to give back. For some, it was a true example of the city's beauty.

"You see all of the chaos and everything happening, you feel for those people because here in Houston, we all come together," explained president of the Youth Achieving through Service in Sports group, Sanford Mouton.

Mouton's group spent hours Monday cleaning the historic Evergreen Cemetery in Fifth Ward.

"It's always an honor to be able to sow into the communities that need help, as opposed to building the ones that already got help," Mouton said.

Volunteers also took to Houston's historic Freedmen's Town, a place where free slaves fought city leaders for bricks to replace muddy streets.

"They didn't give up," Freedmen's Town Preservation Coalition president, Dorris Ellis Robinson explained. "That's the lesson we must learn. You don't give up because you tell me, no."

Robinson leads a group that cleaned the street bricks, but also pulled weeds from bricks left behind of Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church that was torn down.

"It didn't all go for not because somebody came up with the idea to make this space open to everyone who wouldn't have come to this church in the first place," Robinson explained.

The Day of Service also inspired one organization to start using its volunteers again. Rebuilding Together hasn't used volunteers during the pandemic. That changed Monday when a group built a ramp for an elderly African-American woman who desperately needed one.

"It touches me because no one should have to go through what other people have to go through, and that's wrong," said Adele O'Neal, who received the ramp. "We have to get this together. We have to be together."

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