Martin Luther King Jr. Day
On the third Monday of every January, the United States of America celebrates the life of one of its most influential and important leaders. Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) was a prominent nonviolent civil rights activist in the 1950s and ’60s. He fought for the rights of African American people and against the brutal Jim Crow laws of the time. He led peaceful marches protesting segregation and pushing for the rights of Black Americans to vote. He organized the March on Washington in 1963 where he gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial. Those words of hope and unity are still as valuable to today’s society as they were to the America of the Civil Rights era.
According to Britannica, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was proposed as a bill to the U.S. House of Representative in 1979, but it didn’t get the votes needed to become an official federal holiday. There was already a push from the public to create a holiday in honor of King. There were dozens of campaigns set up in order to get the bill passed, and a petition was created. It eventually gained six million signatures, making it one of biggest petitions in United States history. In 1983, the holiday was signed into law, but it wasn’t officially observed by all 50 states until the year 2000.
Honoring King’s legacy doesn’t have to be on the same magnitude as what he accomplished. Simply fostering a community or helping someone in need is all that’s required to take the right steps in the path King set. Donating to charities and studying the history of the civil rights movement are also excellent ways to observe the holiday. There are numerous events around the La Porte area and online to participate in, as well. Purdue Northwest is hosting their annual MLK Day event online. It’s going to be streaming on their YouTube channel from 8:30 am to 9:30 am during the holiday. The South Bend Symphony Orchestra is holding a concert celebrating black composers and their music. It’s on January 14th and starts at 7 pm.