On Monday, January 21st, MHUSD District office and all our schools are closed as we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights leader, activist, and orator whose contributions to racial justice are an important part of American history. This day has come to be recognized as a day of service nationwide. Below are eight ways that any of us can celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. that honors his values.
1 – Educate yourself.
The ways in which the topic of race is addressed varies drastically. On this day off, you could read some of King’s own writings or books or articles written about him.
2 – Talk to older family members.
Talking to your older family members, especially those who grew up in the South, could be especially enlightening. Many of us have parents or grandparents who are living history, and who may very well have attended a protest or watched King on television.
3 – Talk to problematic folks.
We all know problematic people — and sometimes they are the people closest to us. We could take the day to engage in a conversation with a family member, friend, or neighbor who has trouble understanding the importance of justice for all members in our society.
4 – Do some good.
Going out and giving your time by cleaning up neighborhoods, serving at a soup kitchen, or just spending time with members of a community in need are great ways to engage in service locally.
5 – Create.
Use King’s message of acceptance and justice to inspire your art. Write. Paint. Make music. Whatever mode of expression you prefer, you could use the day as a springboard to let your talent be your activism.
6 – Support organizations that fight for justice.
In the midst of educating yourself and those around you, you can also take time to support organizations that make it their mission to fight against injustice, whether joining a protest, volunteering time, or raising funds.
7 – Go on an informative trip.
Many cities have special museum exhibits on MLK Day or even put on concerts dedicated to the spirit of King’s legacy.
8 – Watch films about King’s life.
The film Our Friend, Martin has been shown in many classrooms during the month of January. Although it is an animated film, it features historical footage of King at different points in his life. Ava Duvernay’s Selma demonstrates that King lived a complex life, and not all of his contemporaries agreed with his methods.
However you choose to spend MLK day, enjoy your three-day weekend!