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Martin Luther King Day important time to be in school and learn

Olivia Watson, Entertainment Editor

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As Jan. 16, another Martin Luther King Day, has come and gone, and I have begun to wonder if we are honoring Dr. King the way we should.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights activist who stood up for what he believed in and didn’t let what others thought about him stop his fight.

He faced many challenges in his life but never lost sight of what was important and never changed his morals to make others appreciate him or agree with his views.

So why is it that when someone doesn’t agree with us, we turn to aggression?

One of Dr. King’s biggest goals was equal education for all. He wished for the day that people would be judged by the person they were, not the color of their skin (and quite frankly, that day isn’t completely here yet).

Although we study him in school, I still question whether or not we, as students, take advantage of the educational opportunities Dr. King and so many others fought for. In the words of Dr. King, “intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

But, how many of us can say that we regularly try to improve our intelligence and character to the best of our ability? How many of us can truly say that we try, on a daily basis, to take advantage of all of the educational and social opportunities that have been given to us because of him?

How many of us can say that we have never treated a person differently because of the way they looked or the way they sided politically?

Nowadays, for the most part, Dr. King’s dreams have been realized; I say “for the most part” because although some people have learned how to see the person inside, a lot of people still judge others by skin color, which has sparked a sense of divide our society that are pretty discouraging.

Our country is being torn apart by the actions of people with a single idea in their mind, an idea that affects the way our race is being seen. All the negativity aside, many of us know how to treat each other – we act as friends, and we accept one another; and I think that is what Dr. King would have wanted.

However, lately I have found myself puzzled about the true meaning of all the things Dr. King has done for us. Why is it that when the third Monday of every January was dubbed Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1986, many schools give their students this day off?

I find it odd that Dr. King’s fight was about education, and we aren’t even in school that day.

Of course, being a high school student, every day we get off from school and homework is always enjoyable; However, it still doesn’t feel right to have the day off. If anything, we should have school that day and spend the entire time enhancing our knowledge of Dr. King and other key members in the fight to equality.

Sometimes, we lose sight of what he did and how his actions have influenced us. Imagine if Dr. King hadn’t believed in our rights for equal education. If you think that his decisions and actions haven’t influenced you specifically, then think again. Without Dr. King, some of us wouldn’t have our homes or some of our other possessions.

We wouldn’t have our cell phones or computers and all the other things we feel we cannot live without because without an education, we wouldn’t be able to afford them. Without education, how do you think the people at Apple could figure out how to program the ever-coveted iPhone?

Aside from that, I can almost guarantee that most of us wouldn’t know some of our current friends. We have the opportunity to go to schools where people of different shapes, sizes, colors and religions coexist; and we should all recognize Dr. King for giving us that chance.

So the next time you are busy enjoying your day off from school for Martin Luther Ling Jr. Day, just take the time to think about for whom and why you have the day off. We were given the right to go to the school we please and participate in group activities with people of different races.

My companions are all extremely diverse. Some of us are tall, some short; some of us are thicker, and some are skinny.

We’re all of different races and religions; we have different interests and different ways of living, but because of Dr. King, I have met amazing, understanding people who love me for me, and have helped me shape my interests.

So, thank you Dr. King for helping make me, me.

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