Volunteers beautify century-old school in Los Feliz in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

MLK Los Feliz

Ashley Bailey/KPCC

Justin Qualls of El Sereno, right, helps his brother and cousin work on a mosaic at Los Feliz Elementary School. They joined about a thousand people who volunteered to "beautify" the school grounds in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

MLK Los Feliz

Ashley Bailey/KPCC

Former NFL player Rosey Grier - a member of the Los Angeles Rams "fearsome foursome" - stopped by Los Feliz Elementary School Monday to motivate volunteers during their day of service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

MLK Los Feliz

Ashley Bailey/KPCC

Dancers bust a move on the basketball court of Los Feliz Elementary School Monday during a volunteer day of service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK Los Feliz

Ashley Bailey/KPCC

Volunteers pitched in to paint a mural at Los Feliz Elementary School as part of "day of service" activities in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of bringing people together for a common good, and on Monday, volunteers at L.A.’s Los Feliz Elementary School remembered King by participating in a day of service.

The first thing that comes to Justin Qualls of El Sereno's mind when you mention Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is his grandmother.

"Because she has a picture of him on the wall. And then the second thing is all the good that he’s done for my people and everybody in general," he said.

Debroah Brutchey heads L.A. Works, a nonprofit that helps organize volunteer opportunities across the Southland. She helped line up a group of people of all ages and backgrounds to give the school grounds a facelift.

“It’s a historic elementary school here in L.A. – it’s over a hundred years old - and they don’t have a plant manager currently. The plant manager was cut, so they really needed the extra help from the volunteers," she said.

Alison Lewis said she came out from Inglewood to volunteer with some of her co-workers from Home Depot.

“Martin Luther King was here to create equality. If you look around here, we have different races – black, white, Asian, Armenian. It’s nice to see all of us together to help out everybody ‘cause we’re all the same," she said.

Lewis joined about a thousand others in “beautifying” Los Feliz Elementary. That included drilling screws into planks of wood to make flower beds.

Others shoveled dirt, nipped pieces of tile for entryway mosaics and painted colorful murals in ruby, gold and turquoise.

U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson and several local politicians came by to give volunteers a pat on the back, but it wasn’t all work and no play. A DJ spun dance hits on the basketball court throughout the day to keep spirits high.

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