MLK Day is more than just a holiday


Rahima Baluch

Nationwide, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day on the third Monday of every January- though many of us don’t realize this isn’t enough to celebrate King’s work.

The first Martin Luther King Jr. Day was celebrated on Jan. 20, 1986 with marches, church services and a freedom train that ran from San Jose to San Francisco. Today, we celebrate it with a day off.

This isn’t enough to commemorate all the work that King did for African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement and our society as a whole. Liking a picture of King on Instagram is not enough. Retweeting a quote from a speech we’ve all heard is not enough. Having a moment of silence is not enough. We can’t relive the time, so there has to be a better way for students to understand why King and his efforts were so important.

Although the day off aims to honor King’s legacy and the assemblies specifically help students ponder his words, students will often skip the assembly (as they do most others) or be on their phones for half the time. On our day off, most students and parents tend to sleep in and finish the work they didn’t do earlier. In that sense, little to no time is actually dedicated to King or the work he did.

Maybe a day off and an assembly is all we can do — but it’s not all King deserves, and sometimes he doesn’t even get that.  He deserves the satisfaction of a dream come true. Since it took so much time and courage to get one day off, the least we can do is attempt to live out King’s goals.  

With the current state of the union, we’re facing numerous problems that have racism etched into their blueprints such as cases of police brutality and the border wall situation. Even with the current state of our school and the recent surge of hate speech exchanged between students, it’s hard to imagine that anything will change in the near future. But today, we should remember King. We should remember how far he brought us. We should realize how far we’ve got to go.