Observing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2021


Halsey Smith

Photo from 2018 MLK Day Assembly

Maria Walters, Staff Writer

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said. 

This year, honoring Dr. King’s legacy should be at the forefront of our decision making in a year where injustices are not scarce but flaunted publicly across social media. 

Today, the world still experiences the same injustice against black communities, schools, and people of the community that fights for their freedom in America from the 1900s. However, with the help of communities in Grand Rapids, organizations to help black families, social media search for equality, and individual acceptance of all races and ethnicities, our community is starting to change.

King’s “I Have a Dream” speech started the movement for equality and acceptance in the United States and today we acknowledge his impact on the Civil Rights Movement around the world. His goal to abolish discrimination in voting, transportation, education, employment, and everyday life paved the way for new legislation such as The Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Immigration and Nationality Services Act. 

As the face of the Civil Rights Movement at only 26 years old, King stayed calm in the face of violence and proved love, and respect does conquer all. Although the travesty of his death marks Apr. 4, 1968, we honor his impact and reputation day in support of all Black lives and the Black community in making a change for equality among all races and genders.

Since preschool, we have been taught the importance of this day and reflected on the work still done today towards racial equality. We have honored the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. and all those who fought for human rights in school assemblies, in classrooms, and in the community through service projects. Amid tumultuous times, the words of Dr. King have reverberated as a push for new policies and police reform towards establishing justice and delivering equality becomes urgent in front of our eyes. We are left to sit in front of our TV’s wondering if we are doing enough.

As King once said, “I have a dream that one day right there in Alabama little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers…I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Today, our community and country honors that dream in respect for King’s life and impact in our nation.