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From Natalie Hopkinson at

In the days leading up to the inauguration of Barack Obama, Washington, D.C. will be transformed into one big, jubilant street festival. We at The Root have nothing against inaugural glitz and glitter, see nothing wrong with a little floss. In fact, we fully expect to see flashy gowns, stretch limos and tuxedo tails in abundance at our own inaugural ball.

Still, as America prepares to celebrate the party of a lifetime, this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Jan. 19, 2009 is more than a day off. It is more than a prelude to Obama’s inauguration, which happens the next day. We believe the universe arranged for millions of people to flock to Washington just in time to revive the legacy of public service epitomized by Martin Luther King Jr.

There is plenty of work to be done, right here in Washington, in the Obama family’s new backyard. So The Root has decided to sponsor a day of service at Marvin Gaye Park in Northeast Washington, D.C. from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 19.

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