MLK Jr. Day Recap

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MLK Jr. Day Recap

Olivia Marbury, Publications Editor

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     This year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is January 20, 2020, and this national holiday, believe it or not, has and continues to spark debate across the country. It took 20 years for all 50 states to officially recognize MLK Day. Utah being the last to do so in the year 2000. Even today, some states recognize both MLK Day and a holiday also celebrating Robert E. Lee, a Confederate leader who’s birthday ironically is on the same day as MLK’s. 

     Martin Luther King Jr. Day originated to celebrate the prominent leader of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and is also known as the MLK Day of Service aiming to create a day where everyone serves. Today MLK Day is celebrated across the nation annually every third Monday of January, and this year marks the 25th anniversary of the holiday. 

     Though MLK Day aims to positively impact communities across the country, some disagree with it being recognized as a national holiday. 

     Despite the day being marked off for many on the calendar, as just another day off it is crucial to view MLK day as not a day off, but a day on, for serving and bettering the community.

      To truly celebrate Martin Luther King on MLK day, one must honor King’s message of equality and service, as well as the many contributions and sacrifices he and others in the country made to help the oppressed, and change the system. The value of giving back and having a “day on” is fundamental to paying homage to King as well as continuing his legacy.

     Often times, questions like “Why King?” are asked. To understand why MLK and the day celebrating him is so important, one must comprehend what King was fighting for, what he and many minorities had to go through, and the severity of racism at the time. In the ’50s and ’60s, especially in the south, racism wasn’t hidden. It was blatant; it was loud; it was violent, and it was the law. By law, blacks were separated from whites, and the oppression of African Americans was not only just, but natural. To break the truly unjust cycle of racial discrimination, King utilized things like protests, resistance, civil disobedience, and grassroots which were organizations where communities were developed and the unorganized were organized. Dr.King served his whole life for the betterment of Black Americans through peace with a message of equality. To achieve something that was so impossible at the time, King made use of non-violent tactics in order for him and his message to be seen and heard. King lead and inspired. King changed America as we know it.

     The day of recognition to Martin Luther King Jr. is vital to show just how far the country as a whole has come. Though at times it may seem that as a country we’re digressing with the major division in politics, it is key to recognize just how far we have truly come.