Students observe MLK Day


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Martin Luther King gives speech during Birmingham campaign in 1963

Gurpreet Gujral, Staff Writer

Since Jan. 18, 1986, Martin Luther King (MLK) Day has been celebrated by many people around the country. A civil rights advocate who fought for the rights of black people in the U.S., MLK is a figure highly revered by many.

“The importance of MLK Day is to honor and celebrate the achievements of the man who fought for racial equality,” sophomore Emily Hubert said. “It’s important to remember him for his achievements because they were so grand.”

MLK Day was created to celebrate him and the work he has done, such as using his Nobel Peace Prize award money to further activists efforts for civil rights. 

“I believe we should celebrate it like a memorial day where we pay respects to all the past and current African Americans who impacted the world,” senior Trosoadas Davenport said. “We must use the day to educate ourselves on any African American activists.”

MLK stood not only for black Americans, but for all Americans being treated unjustly by the government. He organized the Great March on Washington which brought together white and black Americans to reach the goal of equal rights.

“MLK Day celebrates the uprising of equality between all people,” senior Lans Fofanah said.

“I believe this because we all know of the hardships that MLK had to go through in order to get where we are now.” 

Some students take it upon themselves to follow his teachings and implement them in their own lives. 

“In my everyday life I try my best to help people with homework and provide support to people who need it,” Davenport said. 

MLK, in his fight for equality, chose a path of non-violence which differs from the more active Black Panthers, who followed a more violent path, often encouraging people to gain their rights by any means necessary. MLK’s peaceful path was called into question when considering how in modern years, there is still social injustice against Black Americans. 

“The non-violent protest was the best path because many people back then and even now believed that African Americans are naturally violent and want to harm them,” Trosoadas said. “They were scared to be around African Americans but the peaceful protests showed them that their ideas were wrong and also showed that no matter how terrible the police or white Americans were, African Americans were going to be the bigger people.” 

Many students remember learning about how MLK brought together Black Americans to achieve equal rights like in the Birmingham Campaign. Yet his teachings seem to fade as students raise in grade level.

“Schools should teach more on what MLK went through and other activists who made an impact on the civil rights movement, which we usually never hear about,” Trosoadas said.