Region turns out to honor Martin Luther King Jr.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- People across the Philadelphia area celebrated the legacy Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday.

The day included the 33rd annual symbolic ringing of the Liberty Bell. The honored bell ringer was 95-year-old Ruth Wilson of Philadelphia.

During World War II she was one of the thousands of women who worked in factories and on the docks to make the machines and materials we needed to win.

"Martin Luther King Day is not a day to sleep in at all," said Steven Walker of Ready, Willing and Able. "It is a day of delivering help."

Organizers say a record 150,000 people are taking part in the 23rd Annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service.

It's the country's oldest and largest event of its kind.

Todd Bernstein is the founder and director.

"I think we are a divided nation," Bernstein told Action News. "And I think that that has certainly been compounded in recent times. So I think now is perhaps more important than in recent years for us to try to come together."

Thousands did just that Monday, including Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Philadelphia Schools Superintendent Dr. William Hite, and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.

"That's what today is about," said Wolf. "Dr. King was about service above all else. We need to create a fair society for all of us."

Local organizations and companies had volunteers donate their time and resources.

"We are partnering with Career Wardrobe to help women who are transitioning back into the workforce," said Alexandra Coppadge of PECO, "by making them inspirational notecards and putting together beauty bags and toiletries that can hopefully help them in feeling good and looking good and hopefully get them back into work."


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