Blog Esprit Papillion / Family / General

Did we lose the meaning of MLK day?

I remember as a kid having heavy curriculum on Martin Luther King Day. We listened to his famous “I Have a Dream” speech and learned about his life, civil rights activism and death; how he awoke a nation the power of peaceful protest. Today, I still feel the icon-ism that radiates from the name Martin Luther King Jr.  But I’m not sure how successful I’ve been at passing that pride down to the new generation; its hurts my heart (and my head) when my children cannot tell me the significance of such a great freedom fighter.  Are we doomed to repeat a similar course historical events if we don’t continue to keep such meaningful historical figures at the forefront of our kids education?

So, I’m feeling renewed to not let MLK day become another meaningless holiday, teacher work day or snow day, but still find meaning in its significance.  How can we honor MLK and all those who continue to work for civil rights?

  1. Volunteer for a cause that is important to you.  Make MLK day a day of service, starting this year and as a tradition for future years – many large organizations offer group events in honor of Martin Luther King Day.
  2. Seek out those in need – all the little things add up.  A person needing help with groceries? Perhaps someone in a rush, let them go in front of you in line?  A friend having a rough time, lend an ear?
  3. Join a peaceful gathering such as the Women’s March downtown or check out church’s commemorative services.  If weather doesn’t permit (like this year), create a gathering in your own living room and watch a PBS special on Martin Luther King Jr’s life.
  4. Visit or donate to a Black History museum or display.  Try Great Plains Black History Museum.
  5. Seek out your elders, ask them about racial tensions in the 60’s. Reflect on it and how lessons learned in the past might apply to your daily life today.
  6. Read to and educate the next generation. Some books we love can be found here: 5 CIVIL RIGHTS BOOKS FOR ELEMENTARY STUDENTS
  7. Listen to “I Have a Dream” speech  ‘I Have A Dream’ Speech, In Its Entirety  Every-time I do, I seem to hear something new.

So tell us, do you think it’s important to observe MLK day?  How do you celebrate? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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