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History of MLK day

King’s birthday was finally approved as a federal holiday in 1983
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Dylan Jackson
Washington Diamonds Drill team performing step dance

   Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Week, which takes place the week of January 8, is a time to honor and celebrate the life and achievements of Civil Rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. It has different themes every year. The 2024 theme is: “Living the Dream: It Starts with Me – Spreading Hope, Courage and Unity“.

   MLK Week is a time when schools and universities come together to learn more about Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement. It’s a week filled with events and activities that promote equality, justice and peace. It’s an opportunity to learn more about his legacy and the ongoing fights for social justice.

   This year, Ballard High School did an MLK activity every day for the first 10 minutes of the third period, to honor MLK. According to Black Student UnionPresident, Semai Hagos, “We wanted to do something different with the slides this year, so we made separate topics for each day. By having discussions, students are able to reflect on what they’ve been taught and how MLK’s dream relates to us today. We thought hearing some of Dr. King’s speeches are a great way to, and the discussion.”  

   “MLK Week is a huge part of the Black Experience in America, which was the reason for Dr. King’s efforts and impact. His work is still relevant today, which I think is the best reason to show,” Hagos said. 

   According to the Multilingual Dept. Chair Christina Russell, “The most powerful day was Thursday when we watched and reflected on MLK’s speech, ‘Your Life’s Blueprint,” Russellsaid. “It is meaningful that our BSU students put together these slides so we could center the voices of our students of color and learn from and with each other.”

   King’s birthday was finally approved as a federal holiday in 1983, and all 50 states made it a state government holiday by 2000. Officially, King was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, but the holiday is marked every year on the third Monday in January.

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