Martin Luther King, Jr. Day means to celebrate the birthday and achievements of Dr. King, an American civil rights activist who fought for equality and an end to racial segregation. It means to honor a person who taught us the power of using nonviolence to promote change, and that we can only achieve unity and peace by acting with love and compassion towards one another. Indeed, Dr. King’s message of nonviolence is as poignant today as it was two generations ago: “At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love.
In struggling for human dignity, the oppressed people of the world must not allow themselves to become bitter or indulge in hate campaigns. To retaliate with hate and bitterness would do nothing but intensify the hate in the world. Along the way of life, someone must have enough sense and morality to cut off the chain of hate. This can be done only by projecting the ethics of love to the center of our lives.” This legacy of spreading love to drive out hate reminds me that we can change our divisive present into a better future, a future where we are more than our race, religious beliefs, economic situations, or political affiliations.
Additionally, MLK Day is a call to public service. As the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service, it encourages us to volunteer to improve our communities and do so with kindness. Dr. King recognized that “[e]verybody can be great... because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” So on this MLK Day, let us remember Dr. King’s words and follow his, lead by giving back to our community through service to others.
In sum, MLK Day means to celebrate the legacy of a man who galvanized people to fight for civil rights with nonviolence and advance equality and opportunity for all by serving others in the community.