Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.


There is no denying that there is political chaos in our country which has led the government to a standstill. According to The Guardian, the partial U.S. government shutdown took effect after the Senate failed to pass a budget that included the $5 billion President Trump demanded for the wall. Unfortunately, it seems that the shutdown has yet to end and has extended over Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is something we cannot forget to celebrate, especially during this time of turmoil. The holiday commemorates the life and work of Dr. King who was a strong advocate for nonviolence and exercised civil disobedience in order to battle racial inequality and segregation in the United States during the Civil Rights Movement. His most famous speech, “I Have A Dream,” made history as he not only called for an end to racism but defined the new American Dream. People often celebrate this day by visiting historical sites associated with King like his birth home or his National Historical Park in Atlanta. They also celebrate by performing acts of charity and promoting and commemorating his ideals.

With the government shutdown still looming over the nation, it sadly affected the holiday. According to Independent News, civil servants are usually given the day off, but with the current shutdown, many federal workers are going unpaid. Since the closure remains unsolved, many workers are forced to work without pay for over a month now. Some of King’s historic sites have also been closed off, directly affecting the people that wanted to celebrate.

However, instead of letting the shutdown affect MLK Day, we must do the opposite and instead let MLK Day affect the shutdown. Let King’s words and beliefs solidify the nation, help others, and believe not in walls or borders, but in the power of nonviolence. Despite the holiday itself being over, we cannot let the shutdown disrespect such an important legacy and once again stomp on those who struggled to change the country for good.

The recent strike of teachers in the L.A. Unified School District is an incredible testimony to the rights of citizens and the power of nonviolence Dr. King wanted us to practice. Teachers from one of the biggest school districts have been gathering in the rain since Monday, Jan. 14 to protest for staffing, class size and pay. Even here at West Ranch, there are books that the library displayed in commemoration of Dr. King. According to Mrs. Erickson, the school librarian, “West Ranch Library has a variety of books on Civil Rights, Biographies of Civil Rights leaders and the history of the civil rights movement in the library. During Black History (February) Month, Mrs. Foote always brings these books out to make sure students are aware and encouraged to read and discover these certain topics.”

So despite the chaos, despite the controversies and the violence, and despite the helplessness we all feel, we still have the power to stand up to the government, make our voices heard, and most importantly, do good for others.