What Does MLK Day Really Mean?

Ryan T., Staff writer

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Every year on the third Monday of January, Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day is celebrated, and most people get a day off from school or work. But what does that mean? Who was Mr. King and what is this day all about?

This American federal holiday is celebrated on the third Monday of January, because it’s close to his birthday, January 15. President Ronald Reagan signed off on this holiday in 1983, long after MLK’s assassination in 1968. Although it was signed off in 1983, it was not celebrated in all states until later.

Photo courtesy of Press Association Images

Scott Snyder, a seventh grade history teacher and advisor, said, “MLK Day is about Martin Luther King and his legacy.” But what is his legacy?

Vielka Reina, a Spanish teacher and the eighth grade girls advisor, goes into detail. She said, “It’s about remembering a powerful spokesperson, leader, fighter, who emphasized equality among us.”

Mrs. Reina admires MLK and has been to the MLK center. She said, “There is this panoramic screen where he’s giving his ‘I have a dream’ speech. Although it’s a powerful speech, not until the day I sat there did it feel emotionally powerful.”

Although many feel it’s nice to have a day off school to remember him, people have varying ideas of how that day could be spent. Mr. Snyder said, “Do I think we should have a day off from school? I say yes, it is a federal holiday.”

Mrs. Reina suggests a day on instead of a day off. Not only would this day be on and at school, but also it would be a service day where advisements do a project within their community.

Off or on from school, this day is indeed important, but some states don’t take a day off to remember MLK, Jr. and his fight for equality. This is because they need extra time due to lost days because of snow storms.

Mr. Snyder believes it’s acceptable for some schools to use the day as a makeup that day stating, “That’s an act of god sort of thing. It was not meant to disrespect MLK.”

On the other hand, Mrs. Reina proposes that the schools use other options besides MLK day for makeup work. She believes that the day after Presidents Day or the Friday prior would be a better alternative.

Overall, MLK day is a federal holiday celebrating MLK and his fight for equal rights. With or without school, this day is still important.

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