MLK Day Is Our Day


Courtesy of the St. Joseph County Public Library

Martin Luther King Jr. waves to the crowd gathered during the March on Washington, where he gave him most famous speech “I Have A Dream”.

Cooper Aitken, Staff Writer

Martin Luther King Jr. is an American hero. In a time where prejudice and inequality ran rampant for generations before him, he led thousands to peacefully demand change. He swayed the minds of millions and changed our country forever. He was on the right side of history. We celebrate him on January 17. 

General Robert E Lee was a traitor. He betrayed his country, our country. His sole job was to lead his soldiers to kill their own countrymen. He was on the wrong side of history. Some celebrate him on January 19.

Every January 19 we spit in the face of King’s legacy.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene used January 17—the day we celebrate the hope that Martin Luther King Jr. represented—to claim that the unvaccinated are facing “a new segregation.” MLK Day is not about vaccines. MLK Day is not about Democrats. MLK Day is not about Republicans. MLK Day is not about you. 

MLK Day is about us. It’s about what we have done, what we are doing, and what we must continue to do.

We have ended segregation, in its most basic form. The Montgomery Bus Boycott started with the bravery of Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks, but ended after a community came together to demonstrate against the injustice they faced every day. Brown v. Board of Education started the arduous journey of desegregating our schools, but it was the black children who knowingly walked into deeply racist white schools that made the Supreme Court Decision a reality. 

MLK Day is about us. It’s about what we have done, what we are doing, and what we must continue to do.

We are currently fighting against the deep rooted racial bias in the criminal justice system. Modern day activists continue the fight for racial justice that King spearheaded, but it is us, the masses, who make change. Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, first started the BLM Movement, but it was the hundreds of thousands of people worldwide who joined the movement in 2020 that made justice for George Floyd a reality. 

We have come so far, but we must do more. MLK Day still isn’t a day off for most places of work, while Columbus Day is. We continue to prioritize the memory of a man who started a mass genocide and enslavement of Indigenous Americans over a man who sparked the greatest fight for justice our nation has ever seen. The start must begin with making MLK Day mean something to all of us. The core members of CUSD Against Racism said in a statement, “MLK Day is a day of reconnaissance, of recognition, that without the people who dedicated their lives to ensuring that America was the land of liberty and justice for all, we would not be where we are today.” 

Honoring King’s legacy is of the utmost importance on MLK Day, on January 19, and everyday if we are to live in the America that King dreamed of.