On the third Monday of January every year, Americans celebrate the birthday of civil rights leader and activist Martin Luther King, Jr. While today’s civil rights landscape still has a ways to go before achieving true equality, MLK’s historic contributions to racial justice for Black Americans are undeniable.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is more than a day off! Take some time to learn more and to celebrate in meaningful ways. Here are a few ideas:
Educate yourself and those around you…
…because history classes rarely gave us the whole truth. The ways in which the topic of race in the United States is taught in history classes around the country vary drastically, so make sure that you have a good understanding of why there is a day dedicated to MLK.
Talk to your older family members.
For Black Americans—talking to your older family members could be especially enlightening. Many of us have grandparents who are living history, and who may very well have attended a protest or watched King on television.
Do some good.
It is a day of service, after all. If you are able to go out and give your time by cleaning up neighborhoods, serving at a soup kitchen, or just spending time with members of a community in need, then start by searching for volunteer opportunities near you.
Use King’s message of acceptance and justice for the marginalized to inspire your art. Write. Paint. Make music. Whatever mode of expression you prefer, use the day as a springboard to let your talent be your activism.
Support organizations that fight for racial justice.
Don’t forget to support organizations that make it their mission to fight against racial injustice. Join a protest, raise funds, and learn more about the work that Black Lives Matter and other organizations are doing to empower Black communities.
Support a Black-owned business.
You can’t have equality without equity, and Black business owners often face additional barriers to their success because of their race. For a day that is about giving back, you can also empower individuals by supporting Black businesses in your community or online.
However you choose to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr., make it impactful and meaningful to you and your family.