MLK Day: More than just another day off

Jasmine Casimir // Asst. Sports Director

Although Monday, Jan. 15 will mark the 31st anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, there are still some who don’t really know what all King did and why there is a holiday to honor him.

“My understanding of Martin Luther King is that he is a Civil Rights leader, and he tried to activate a lot of people toward that movement,” junior math education major Cody Bovino said. “I know that there are other Civil Rights leaders, but I don’t know exactly why he’s the one that we have a day off for.”

King was a Civil Rights Movement leader, and he used nonviolent civil disobedience based on his religious beliefs. After his assassination, members of Congress proposed that his birthday should be a national holiday, but bills ordering the occasion went nowhere. Objections were present, and eventually, Congress passed a bill designating King’s birthday as a national holiday to be celebrated on the third Monday in January, starting in 1986.

But some are unaware of the process, especially students and athletes who come from other countries.

“I always had to go and do my own research about Martin Luther King Jr. because my family is from a different background,” redshirt sophomore forward and Somali native Hassan Hussein said.

The University should do much more to honor this holiday, as well as educate its students, staff and faculty on who King was, and the process of getting his birthday to become a national holiday.

Now, I’m not taking away from the organizations who do recognize this holiday and give back to the community. But some students do not participate in these opportunities.

Bovino said he doesn’t really do anything to celebrate the holiday, and he may just go to the beach or lie in bed for a little while.

Freshman cornerback Isaiah Brown said he doesn’t really do anything on MLK Day, but he is aware that King was a man who really brought us all together.

For whatever reason, students may not want to come on campus to celebrate, but there are some who participate in off-campus parades to pay tribute.

“I do attend the MLK Day parade which happens just throughout a whole bunch of different cities, and they pay tribute to him and do different activities that honors what he did for our people,” senior accounting major Jessica Spencer said. “He had a dream and he did everything he could to make that dream come true that one day blacks and whites could be equal.”

It has been several decades since the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., and some young people in particular do not regard the holiday as they should. If you plans for MLK Day consist of shopping or just staying at home, I ask that you rethink your plans and take the day out to participate in a community event.

If that is too much, at least educate yourselves on why you’re not working or attending school every third Monday in January and learn about King’s journey to gaining equal rights for all. I implore all students, faculty and staff to honor this holiday through service, and not look at it as another day off.

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