Student journalists offer King Day opinions

By: Panther staff
Jan 15, 2024


Continuing the work, the dream


Martin Luther King Jr. Day serves as a crucial reminder of the significance of Dr. King's legacy and the ongoing struggle for civil rights, equality and justice.

The day allows people to reflect on the life and work of a remarkable leader who dedicated himself to the pursuit of equality and justice for all.

Given the continued struggles of racial inequality, social injustice and systemic discrimination in our society, MLK Day remains as relevant as ever. However, while the holiday itself is important, it is also important that people use this day as an opportunity to act on Dr. King's teachings and work toward social action.

This involves activities to combat racism, discrimination, and inequality, as well as creating unity within our communities. This can include activities such as participating in volunteer work or attending educational events.

Many people in cities across the country have parades and events surrounding MLK Day. Citizens from all different ethnicities and racial backgrounds come together to recognize King by celebrating with family and friends.

By recognizing and celebrating the ongoing relevance of MLK Day, and by actively engaging with the principles and values it represents, we can continue the work and vision that he dreamed.


More than a day to recognize MLK


Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day to recognize and celebrate an activist who fought for equality and justice for people of color.

Dr. King's works and leadership changed the course of history. He fought tirelessly for justice during the civil rights movement and led a non-violent course of action.

I believe MLK Day should continue to be celebrated and continued as a holiday. MLK Day is not just a day to recognize King but also a day to acknowledge the people who followed him and recognize their accomplishments and fight for justice.

Many people take MLK Day to spend time with family and to be grateful for how far we have come or to gain knowledge of the history of King and the ones who led along the way.

King brought healing to many and still impacts the minds and hearts of people all over the world. Recognizing him is the least that can be done for someone who's given it all and sacrificed so much to change the world for the better.


Not just a day for African Americans


As I look at Martin Luther King Jr. Day through the eyes of a 22-year-old, I can truly say that I'm struck by the progress we've made since the Civil Rights Movement, but I am also mindful of the work that remains.

MLK Day serves as a call to action, urging us to confront systemic issues in the Supreme Court and more. I can truly say that we have improved and I do feel that Martin Luther King’s say is important due to the points that I just made.

I appreciate the day's emphasis on service, turning it into an opportunity to contribute to family and to community, engaging in acts of kindness, volunteering and celebrating. It's a day to celebrate diversity, promote inclusivity and envision a future in which his dream of equality becomes a reality.

I will continue to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day until the day I die. I’m truly glad to have diverse friends, especially because I am a photographer. So it works out in my favor. I hope that many people are celebrating this day, not just African Americans.


Kids should know more about holiday


MLK Day should continue. It should be a holiday but for the students.

I feel like before that Monday, kids should learn more about King because a lot of the younger kids don’t know anything about King.

On the following day, people should host events or marches in memory of Dr. King. Participating in these can be a way to honor his legacy and stand up for the values he fought for.

The reason I mention something about the kids is because I do not hear kids talking about how they learned about MLK Day. Some of them know that it is just a day off from school. But there is a right way to spend the day.

MLK Day should be a holiday, whether people know enough about King. And I hope things will change for this generation that is coming up. They need to know about Dr. King and the reason schools banks, etc. are closed for MLK Day.


King walked so we could run


Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated by all but mostly adored by those of African American descent to show and appreciate, recognize and acknowledge the man who went against wishes and gathered many people to protest and hear his greatness and legendary “I have a dream” speech.

To put it in more accurate words, the importance and significance of this day has not changed. King had a dream that one day everyone and everything would be equal. That we would all have equal rights, share equal standing, be on the same page.

The relevance on this day has not changed. It is a very important standpoint and part of history. It is something that is still in the making. As we look at today’s society, we see that King’s dream still has yet to fully become a reality. There are still many African Americans being wrongly accused, wrongly persecuted, many wrongful injustices against African Americans.

The significance of this event wasn’t just so King could give his famous speech, it was the words of the speech. King recognized the wrongdoings being done against his people. He saw scenes of injustice right before his very eyes. The reason behind the protest wasn’t the fame but to be heard, to make history -- history to be known of injustices, unfairness, persecution and unlawful prejudices against his people.

The relevance of this day is indeed for everyone but it is also a reminder to those of African American descent that our ancestors did not give up. There were people who fought for us back then just like how we continue to fight now. To remind us of our roots and background and the people who stood their ground so that we could have a voice.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day should continue to be a national holiday, one in which people never forget the man who walked so we could run, who fought so we could continue to fight and who preached so that we could receive blessings.


People not using holiday to honor King


First and foremost, I believe Martin Luther King Jr. Day is becoming more and more of an irrelevant holiday.

Google states, “It honors the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.,” but I do not see how we are honoring anything.

Every year, we shut down schools for MLK Day and I do not understand why. If King’s dream was for Black students to receive equal education rights, then why are we not in school on that day?

Some Black-owned businesses even close down for the day, just to go home and sleep.

Growing up, my community used to have an MLK parade, but I cannot recall the last time someone has actually honored Martin Luther King Jr. for what he did.

Apparently, MLK Day is recognized as a National Day of Service to inspire all citizens to engage in volunteer work to better their local communities. Yet the newer generations do not volunteer.

College students see MLK Day as an extended weekend. On the other hand, I would never complain about a day out of school.


So little is known about great man


To people of color, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is not anything new as we have heard of him.

Brainly, the world's largest online learning platform, conducted a survey in 2022 of more than 1,700 U.S. students to see and understand what they really know about Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy.

They concluded that 63% of students failed to answer general question about Martin Luther King Jr.

“It is our duty as HBCU students to know our history and the pillars in our history,” said Breeze Smith, a junior minoring in political science.

Lazarus McCray, a mass communications major, reacted to the survey’s finding that 19% of students denied the fact that Martin Luther King Jr gave his “I have a dream” speech.

“I find it appalling that so little is known about such a great man. A man whose contribution to society is why we somewhat are freer now than 60 years ago,” McCray said.

As to a lack of knowledge about Black history, Amari Walker, the Claflin Student Government Association vice president, said, “I blame it not solely on the education system in America but on the parents of students. It’s their responsibility to educate their own as well. I blame us too.”

More than a day off


MLK Day should still be a national holiday. However, I do believe the mass majority who celebrate do so in the name of a day off.

While the mass majority do know who MLK is and what he has done for the Black community, I could argue that it is vague enough to most that they would not be able to fully understand the importance.

As the generations go, I feel the less we learn about history even though the days of the civil rights movement were not that long ago.

I do believe MLK Day is a day to remember and is an important holiday. And it should be taken as more than a day off.


King gave Black people hope


Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday should always be celebrated and treated like a holiday because he was a lead activist for the time.

King gave Black people hope and faith that one day things will change. So I think they should leave it as it is and anyone who disagrees has a serious problem.

And with them doing that, the new generation can learn about their heritage and their culture and what impact MLK had in history.

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