Monday, Jan. 21 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
For some, the national holiday honoring the prominent civil rights activist is a time to give back and serve the community, be it through removing graffiti or picking up litter in a local park.
For others, it’s an opportunity to educate themselves about King and his life's work. And for others, it’s a time to just kick back and enjoy the prolonged weekend.
Whichever your preference,
there are several events scheduled Monday near the Virginia-Highland/Druid Hills community.
So, tell us—What does Martin Luther King Jr. Day mean to you? What are you doing to commemorate King’s legacy?
The Holiday's History
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, now a U.S. holiday, took 15 years to create.
Legislation was first proposed by Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan) four days after King was assassinated in 1968.
The bill was stalled, but Conyers, along with Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-New York), pushed for the holiday every legislative session until it was finally passed in 1983, following civil rights marches in Washington.
Then-president Ronald Reagan signed it into law. Yet it was not until 2000 that every U.S. state celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day by its name. Before then, states like Utah referred to the holiday more broadly as Human Rights Day.
Now, the Corporation for National and Community Service has declared it an official U.S. Day of Service. The nonprofit Hands on Atlanta, an umbrella group that coordinates volunteers for many organizations across the area, also recognizes the holiday as a special day to give back.
The Hands on Atlanta website has posted one of Dr. King's quotes as a reminder of how important it is to give back to our communities:
"Everybody can be great...because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve [...] You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
TELL US: What does MLK Day mean to you? Tell us in the comments.