Martin Luther King Jr. Day was January 21, 2019. Western’s campus was given a break for a day dedicated to this baptist minister and social activist, but some schools and businesses remained open. King led the civil rights movement in the United States from the mid-1950s. He is remembered for his non-violent protests against segregation and his "I Have a Dream" speech. Through his activism and inspirational speeches, he played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the United States, as well as the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, among several other honors. It is obvious that he played a significant role in America’s history, making it what it is today now. America is known for its freedoms, and without the help of Dr. King, African-Americans wouldn’t have come to know the freedoms they have now.


Why isn’t this holiday acknowledged by everyone? Many believe organizations should honor MLK and the civil rights struggle with paid time off for employees and with a day of service. Others say businesses should have the right to stay open. Some people don’t just want the day off to do nothing. It is argued that MLK Day is supposed to be a day of service. Employers and schools should acknowledge the holiday by encouraging employees and students to volunteer during their time off, or better yet, organize company-wide volunteering during the holiday. What are you doing for others? The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is a way of answering this question and fulfilling the mission of the holiday: empowering individuals, strengthening communities, bridging barriers, creating solutions to social problems, and moving us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved, coexisting country.


It goes without saying that what he did was incredible, but it’s not about the man. When Americans realize this holiday is more about the events and ideas that took place, they will begin to understand how important this is. It is less about celebrating the man himself and more about celebrating the Civil Rights Movement and the ideals that the man represents. These ideals are very important to the communities we know today, particular Kalamazoo, and deserves to be a national holiday. With him being one of the most well known figures of the Civil Rights movement and having been assassinated for it, celebrating such a thing around his birthday is a good idea. Martin Luther King is justified to have his own holiday. There were many other honorable citizens who's had an essential role during Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, but MLK’s was the most beneficial and sufficient. However, Dr. King was a leader as well as a promoter of peacefulness and unity, which makes him one of the best leaders of nonviolence in world history. He battled kindly for equity for ALL individuals and it should be acknowledged by EVERYONE.

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