“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.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
MLK Day is not just another day off from work or your kids off from school, but should be a day ON. This significant day is a day of remembrance and celebration, but most importantly it is a day of unity and service. Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech should be a speech that is a daily reminder of how positive thinking and advocating can make meaningful change, not just in January for his birthday or February during Black History Month.
As a parent, a black parent, I am obligated to acknowledge the racial and bias aspect of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day while also addressing his many fights for equal rights (right to vote, right to education). This day is not about just race; it has much more depth with a focus on UNITY and TOGETHERNESS. This holiday gives me the opportunity to teach my kids about true forgiveness, unconditional love, and being intentional in relationships with others who do not have the same skin color or socioeconomic status. I must lead by example.
I am black. I am a woman. I am a lesbian. However, I am not an expert on the Civil Rights Movement and knew very little about the true importance of MLK Day until adulthood. All the things I am were part of his fight for equal rights. His legacy lives on, and it is my duty as a parent to continue educating myself with true resources in additional to his “ I Have a Dream” speech. Have you read other speeches by Dr. King? It is my duty to allow my children to form their own thoughts from Dr. King’s speeches. It is my duty to ensure that Dr. King is mentioned in school and not in a scratch of the surface manner. It is my duty to give my kids the opportunity to form their own friends and force friendships with my friends’ kids. It is my duty to teach my kids about Dr. King’s legacy because my kids deserve an opportunity to be loved by all and give love to all.
Here are a few ways to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids of different ages.
- Listen to / watch Dr. King’s different speeches.
- Participate in a peaceful march or parade.
- Acts of Service – example: helping other’s from diverse backgrounds.
- Read books about Dr. King such as “I am Martin Luther King Jr.”
- Print out color sheets of Dr. King.
- Write your own speech about empowerment and community.
- Visit the 22 acre Martin Luther King Jr. Historical Site in Atlanta, Georgia.
- Visit Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in DC.
- Take a trip to the African American Museum in DC. (Side note: It’s life changing)
- Take a trip to the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, TN.