“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke these powerful words in 1963, as they rang out to a crowd of 250,000 people. Today, these words continue to ring true in the United States, 55 years later.
From 1954-1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. served as a minister, activist and influential leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. His campaign and vision for equal rights in the United States was completely revolutionary, until his assassination in 1968. Then in 1986, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established in honor of his legacy and his valiant efforts for change in the U.S.
Today, we remember King and the rights he stood for. If you want to live a more altruistic life, how can you commemorate Dr. King and continue his legacy? Here are ideas to get started this Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Learn about Martin Luther King.
The first step toward remembering MLK and what he stood for is learning more about him. While most children usually study King in the classroom during January, there are still ways you can take time with your family to learn about and celebrate his life.
Take some time to discuss together about what King stood for. Do arts and crafts focused on MLK, or even watch a short video or movie that tells Dr. King’s story. The 1999 drama Our Friend, Martin is a kid-friendly film focused on MLK; or, for older children, the 2015 movie Selma takes a more serious look at MLK and the Civil Rights Movement. Additionally, reading books together to learn about King is the perfect way to spend time together as a family, while honoring and respecting MLK’s legacy.
Understand the Civil Rights Movement.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day isn’t only to recognize MLK, but also to remember and respect the entire Civil Rights Movement. Commemorate this day by learning more about the Civil Rights Movement: how it originated, what its goals were and how it influenced the United States.
While the United States has definitely overcome some dark times in our country’s history, it’s important to learn from these in order to move forward. Talking about the Civil Rights Movement with others gives people the opportunity to ask questions, learn, grow and take valuable steps in continuing to move forward as a society.
Find local celebration events.
If you or your family is interested in going further with Martin Luther King Jr. Day plans, try checking in your community to find any events celebrating Dr. King. Larger cities like Philadelphia have entire city-wide events, such as the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. The occasion has over 135,000 volunteers and 1,000 service events for people near and far to enjoy throughout the weekend.
If you live in a smaller community, you can still focus on on an altruistic life. Choose a local nonprofit organization to give to or volunteer at with your friends or family in recognition of MLK Day. Check if any nonprofits have special campaigns running in honor of Dr. King and see how you can help make a difference.
Practice tolerance towards others.
Finally, one of the most valuable ways to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day is to practice what he preached: that one day, “we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.” Today, this month and throughout the rest of 2018, take time to get to know someone different from you. Make an effort to live more altruistically and practice tolerance toward others. After all, Martin Luther King’s dream was for all men to truly be equal, and together we can work towards accomplishing this goal.
Today, celebrate how far our nation has come by commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. and his vision. Recognize the steps that still need to be taken, because when we understand the past, we can see an even clearer version of the future.