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Martin Luther King should be celebrated

Photo courtesy of Harcum College

Jake Navarro ’20

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Leadership, determination and confidence are all attributes that characterize Martin Luther King Jr. But the day named in his honor is characterized by sleeping in, watching Netflix and hanging out. Instead of participating in these lackadaisical activities, students should have to participate in school activities related to Martin Luther King.

In essence, the majority of students thank King not for his dedication to the civil rights movement, but for the three day weekend that he granted us. This mindset must be changed. Students should be required to participate in activities regarding King on the day named in his honor.

King should not be remembered for a mere Monday off of school. His work to ensure equality was arguably one of the most significant contributions to American culture and his work still spurs discussion of race in our country. His dedication to alleviate racial injustice is paramount to the continuation of his memory. A date on the calendar during which we get a Monday off from school inadvertently discourages students from remembering him for his incomparable devotion to equality. Instead, it is seen as vacation when it should be viewed as a day for remembrance and appreciation. In order to change this, all schools in America must take similar actions in changing this trend and eliminate the day off from school.

Schools must implement a school day, though it should be unconventional. Students should not have to endure their regular day academics. Instead, classes should focus on King’s important legacy. Teachers should encourage students to engage in well-informed and rational discourse regarding King and the issues he stood for to ensure a continuation of his ideas. Students should be allowed to share their opinions on what change they would like to see in our country, and they should be given the opportunity to stand up for what they believe in. This is not a newfangled proposition—certainly, students have the ability to make their assertions known when they please—but such a valuable discussion will not occur unless directly prompted. Students will not celebrate Martin Luther King Day as it should be without the encouragement from the school.

Although many students view this day as a day off from school, they need to change their thinking. They must take the time to remember what King did and the important changes to society he provoked. The best way to celebrate this holiday is what MLK did best, meaning students should participate in school mandated activities.

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