As most Americans know, Monday, January 21 is Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday that celebrates Dr. King's life and work. The holiday is observed every third Monday in January. I was recently reminded that although the holiday was signed into law in 1983, the day took on an even deeper meaning eleven years later. In 1994 Congress named Martin Luther King Jr. Day a national day of service. Since then, many Americans celebrate the day through some kind of community volunteerism and/or public service.
I'm proud that our government choose to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in this way. Dr.King was a vital figure in the Civil Rights Movement and his work sparked the conscience of a generation. King's leadership in the area of nonviolent activism and human dignity was an inspiration to our country and the world.
One of my favorite quotes by Dr. King is:
"Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love."
Thinking of Dr. King and the national day of service, another great civil rights and children's rights activist, Marian Wright Edelman comes to mind:
“Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not just something you do in your spare time.”
President Obama is deeply committed to encouraging ordinary citizens to stand up and tackle problems in their immediate communities and on the state and national level. This call for Americans to take part in the country's recovery and renewal speaks to the rights and responsibilities of active citizenship.
There are many ways to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. here in the Brevard community. A Martin Luther King Jr. Peace March and Parade takes place Monday, January 21. The March begins at 9 a.m.at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library, 955 E. University Blvd. and ends at the Melbourne Auditorium. For further information, call Estella Edwards at 321-544-2798.
Florida Institute of Technology will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and achievements this Friday, January 18 at 7 p.m. The celebratory event is being hosted right here on campus by Florida Tech's Office of Alumni Affairs and the Humanities and Communication Department. For further information regarding the event, contact Bino Campanini at 321-674-8434.