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Community Members Convicted for Peace Raise $2,600 for MLK Event

In conjunction with the City of Irving’s Martin Luther King Jr. Observance, The Friends of the Irving Public Library challenged residents, civic groups and the business community to participate in its “Conviction for Peace” Get-Out-of-Jail Fundraiser in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s global humanitarian efforts.

The first-time project exceeded the established goal of $2,500. Each volunteer prisoner was arrested and served one hour in a faux jail cell at Irving City Hall and the Central Library. Participants were tasked with collecting bail money to be released from jail. Total revenue raised from the fundraiser was $2,618.54. Monies raised was used to purchase 500 paperback editions of “Letter from a Birmingham Jail" for distribution at the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Observance held at the Irving Arts Center on Jan. 21.

Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce Director of Business and Visitor Services Don Williams was among the volunteer participants. Within one hour, more than $325 was raised to bail Williams out of the faux City Hall jail.

"I felt that participating in this fundraiser was something that I could do that would support the community while simultaneously bringing awareness of Dr. King to a generation that can only read about him in history books," said Williams. "Fortunately, I had enough friends to bail me out and on a personal note, it was really rewarding to be part of such a good cause."

In all, 10 Irving community members participated in the fundraising event coordinated by the Parks and Recreation Department. Following is a complete list of participating volunteers:

• Ray Cerda, City of Irving
• Chris Dobson, City of Irving
• Doug Fox, Irving YMCA
• Francesa Funk, Irving Arts Board
• Tony Grimes, Irving-Carrollton Branch of NAACP
• Jacqueline Madden, City of Irving
• Maria Seppy, Irving Special Activities Advisory Council
• Lorraine Taylor, Irving Heritage Society
• Bob Toler, Irving Lions Club
• Don Williams, Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce

Posted Feb. 13

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