The Meaning of Martin Luther King Day

The Meaning of Martin Luther King Day

In the past I never quite understood the significance of our national holiday celebrating the life of Martin Luther King. — I’m now 53 and just beginning to understand. On Martin Luther King Day not only do we celebrate the past i.e., the man and his life’s work. We celebrate much more, –the values he espoused. We celebrate a movement towards greater equality in our country, the triumph of justice over law and the empowerment of the disenfranchised. The holiday also reminds us of the value of nonviolent civil disobedience and protest as constructive dimensions of our nation’s democracy. It is through citizens such as King, who have the courage to actually exercise their freedoms of speech and assembly, that our freedoms are protected. King took his liberties. He refused to be relegated to the status of compliant ‘subject’. If we value dissent and the alternative thought of minority voices then we will move our communities towards greater equality and in the process become a healthier nation. Martin Luther King Day is a holiday of the future, to celebrate what our nation can become.

James Spychalla

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