On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Russ Barclay took to Facebook and announced an exciting spring project.

In honor of King's legacy, Habitat for Humanity of Madison and Clark Counties will participate in a Beloved Community Build in Richmond, near the Elizabeth Street Missionary Baptist Church.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, the founding of The King Center and the Civil Rights Act of 1968, in which the Fair Housing Act was enacted.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of dwellings based on race, color, sex or national origin. A release by Habitat for Humanity notes that, in 1988, the Act was expanded to protect family status and disability.

"Habitat's vision is a world where everyone has a dignified place to call home. Here we have an initiative that harkens back to the injustice in our past, that shows us how far we have come and how far we need to go," said Barclay.

A partnership between Habitat for Humanity International and The King Center's MLK 50 Forward initiative served as a springboard for the projects planned by Habitats across the country to honor the life and legacy of Dr.King.

Barclay said the goal for Richmond's build is to have people from all walks of life and demographics building together for a beloved community.

"The Beloved Community" was initial coined, in the early 20th century, by philosopher-theologian Josiah Royce, who founded the Fellowship of Reconciliation. However, it was King who made the saying one that would linger for years to come.

"Dr. King's Beloved Community is a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the wealth of the earth," denotes The King Center's webpage. "In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it."

A special program will be held April 11 at the build site; afterwards, volunteers can contribute their time and efforts in constructing the home.

Though Habitat typically has to raise money to build a house, Barclay said, for this home, the amount they needed to raise was less since much of the funds were provided through investments from Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati and the Kentucky Housing Corporation in partnership with the City of Richmond.

Barclay said the project is an exciting opportunity to come together and build upon the dream of what the community can be.

“It’s our unity framed with equality and equity that we can transform a plot of possibility into a home of hope,” he said. “It’s in our unity that we can build Beloved Community.”

Those wishing to volunteer for the build are asked to visit HabitatMadisonClark.org or call 859-625-9208. More information can be found at the organizations webpage and the Habitat for Humanity of Madison & Clark Counties Facebook page.

Reach Critley King at 624-6623; follow her on Twitter @critleyking.

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