From 1955 until his death in 1968, American preacher and activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most well-known figures in the civil rights movement. Due to his involvement in promoting racial equality and fighting to end segregation, we celebrate a national holiday in the United States honoring Dr. King’s birth. Though his actual birthday is on the 15th, it has been commemorated on the third Monday in January for the last 37 years. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was celebrated last Monday, and classes were cancelled in favor of encouraging students to participate in a service project. I was able to speak to a few students here at Southern Nazarene University to see what Martin Luther King Jr. Day means to them.
Many students at Southern Nazarene University have different opinions on the day. Many spent their day resting and recuperating from their first week of classes. Senior Adonia Williams simply viewed it as a “normal day” or a “day off.”
There were many who viewed the day similarly to Williams, spending their day off doing other things. Sophomore David Omosigho spent the day, ”…at Texas Roadhouse to watch the Cowboys beat the Buccaneers on wildcard Monday.” Sophomore Emannuel Obinna said they spent the day working.
Others, however, viewed the holiday as more than just a long weekend, but a time of remembrance and commemoration. “It’s a celebration of his life and the things he did for us,” said junior Nadia Cook.
Sophomore Darius Petties agreed with both sentiments. “It’s a beautiful day of no class, and also remember our past and our history, and have a better understanding of intercultural relations,” said Petties.
People also spent the day in many different ways. There were many students who celebrated the holiday at the Martin Luther King Jr. parade in downtown Oklahoma City, as well as those who celebrated privately with friends and family. Many students also participated in service projects.
The legacy of Dr. King is alive and well, and the ways in which people honor him on this day of reflection go to show how meaningful his strides in the advocacy of justice and equality still are today. No matter how you chose to celebrate, we at the ECHO hope that the importance of all Dr. King stood for is something that can be remembered and put into practice on all days of the year.
Photo by Raffaele Nicolussi on Unsplash