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Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

My earliest memories of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day are from junior high (yes, I realize I am totally dating myself here). Though Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was an official federal holiday, the State of Utah didn’t recognize it then.

About the same time, my friends and I had formed a group we called the Society for Political Awareness (yes, I realize I am letting you know what a total dork I am here) and decided it was our mission to share the message of this holiday with our fellow students via a “sit in” at our school.

This is where I let you know, I don’t actually remember if we really were “sharing a message,” or if we just wanted the day off school…Regardless, nothing much happened. We were threatened with phone calls home and eventually every single one of us caved and went to class.

Utah didn’t declare Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as an official holiday until 2000 and it is a working holiday for most people here, although the kids are out of school. So, as it turns out, there doesn’t seem to be much of a strong tradition surrounding this particular holiday among my friends and neighbors.

I know many consider it a national day of service. In years past, I have held coat or blanket drives to celebrate the spirit of the day. This year, I find myself prepared with absolutely nothing…

So I am wondering friends, do you do anything to celebrate the holiday? Are there strong traditions surrounding Martin Luther King, Jr. Day where you live?

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5 Responses to " Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day "

  1. Steph

    It makes me extra love you to know you were part of a group called the “Society for Political Awareness”

  2. Ellie g says:

    Awe, Tauni. As I go through my reader quickly tonight before bed…of course YOU are my buddy who does an MLK post. I KNEW I liked you! I don’t have any traditions around this day. It always was a working day for my Mom growing up, and my husband never gets it off either. But I make sure my kids and I talk about it. And I loved watching me some Oprah today. She always does a really great show on MLK day. In the future, I’m gonna try to make it actually more meaningful. I loved your high school story though. It made me happy!!

    • Tauni says:

      L, Great minds think alike?! I was just over on your blog and saw that you had posted something similar…We may not have any big plans or enormously elaborate celebrations, but sometimes just the practice of talking with your kids is the very best tradition of all!

  3. Becky says:

    Hey…you don’t know me but I too have struggled with traditions to establish on MLK day. I have an adoped Black son and want it to be a special holiday in our home. He is only 2 yrs old but we have made it a family fun day with our 2 boys. We take work off, do something fun as a family, and then I make an ethnic, soul-food dinner. This year we had bbq ribs, corn pudding, hush puppies, coleslaw, and Baltimore peach cake! It was delicious and fun to bring some of the black culture into our home. Next year I am going to plan a fun service project for us to do as a family in remembrance of the spirit of MLK and what he fought for. Thanks and it was fun to exchange thoughts!

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