WASHINGTON: In honor of Martin Luther King Day, a PR campaign has
been launched to persuade Americans not to take the January 21 holiday
off, but to perform community service.
NFL coaches Herm Edwards of the New York Jets and Tony Dungy of the
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, along with recently fired Minnesota Vikings' coach
Dennis Green, came together to do a PSA that has already been aired more
than 500 times with an estimated exposure of eight million
The effort is being organized by sports marketing firm Octagon. Drew
Johnson, who has been working on the project at Octagon, said that a
media relations campaign with sports and community media is also
underway. No outside PR firms are involved, but Johnson said the PR
departments of the NFL teams have been providing support.
Each of the coaches already volunteers with a different community
Edwards volunteers at Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Green with the
Special Olympics, and Dungy at Family First.
The Corporation for National and Community Service has partnered with
the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change to
transform the holiday into a day of service to meet community needs.
AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers also participate in the
This is not the first year that Americans have been urged to participate
in the community on the holiday. Last year, thousands of volunteers
delivered meals to the elderly, read to children, and built
The action is endorsed by King's widow, Coretta Scott King, who said,
"The greatest birthday gift my husband could receive is if people of all
racial and ethnic backgrounds celebrated the holiday by performing
individual acts of kindness through service to others."
Participants can volunteer at a community event of their own, or find
projects through the Corporation for National and Community Service's