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Examining History: MLK Day

The importance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s contribution to society cannot be forgotten, especially today.


Let’s begin with an essential question: Why is it important to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was perhaps one of the most, if not the most influential civil rights leader in United States history. We all learned about what he was able to accomplish through nonviolence and peaceful protest as well as the effects of his actions on society and for equality. His actions and legacy transcend the 20th and 21st centuries and will continue to impact our lives every day, especially in times like these.

We cannot grow accustomed to heinous acts, violent protests, and hate crimes.

On Monday, January 16, 2017, the United States celebrated the national holiday MLK Day. However, the following day, with classes resuming for the student body, there was an absence of a school wide celebration or recognition for this historic day. At Malvern Prep, we cannot let this honoring of Dr. King and his work go unnoticed.

With the recent election and inauguration of President Donald J. Trump, many have staged protests and demonstrations in order to express their disdain. Although these expressions of speech are held with good intent, some individuals have lost sight of his or her true message and have abandoned methods of nonviolence. How is that honoring what Dr. King sacrificed his life to accomplish?

It is true that President Trump has publicly expressed opinions that have gone against beliefs of others. It is also true that some of President Trump’s past actions are questionable. However, he is our president, and he has intentions that serve no other purpose than moving America further ahead and bettering the state of our country.

Every president has made decisions and has acted in ways with which the people disagree. That is a part of his job description: to make decisions that will better our country with the knowledge that some people will be hurt. A leader cannot satisfy everybody. That is the undeniable truth. The only thing that we, as citizens can do, is support him and fully utilize the First Amendment to voice our opinions. Peacefully. That is what Dr. King would have wanted.

With the recent turmoil in the United States regarding civil rights issues including but not limited to the Black Lives Matter Movement and LGBTQ+ rights, Dr. King’s message is evermore important.

Why was it necessary for four black teens to kidnap and torture a special-needs white man earlier in January of this year? Why was it necessary for a white man to shoot up a black church in Charleston, South Carolina and kill nine members of the congregation in July of 2015?

The year is 2017, but with these acts of terror, we might as well be back in the 1950s and 60s. We cannot continue to move backwards in society. We cannot continue to harm others in order to prove a point, whatever that point may be. No message is worth the taking of innocent person’s life.

This is why it is important to not lose sight of Dr. King Jr.’s message. This is why we cannot grow accustomed to heinous acts, violent protests, and hate crimes. We cannot let even the little things, such as derogatory slurs and innuendos become a part of our daily vocabulary and language. Because if we do, we are bringing ourselves back to the times in our history that we look upon with sadness and disbelief, wondering how people could do this to each other and why there is so much hate. We cannot relive those times.

Therefore, I believe that it is essential for every school and institution, not just Malvern Prep, to recognize this national holiday. We need to revisit these events to remind us of the progress that we, citizens of the United States, have made. We need to celebrate equality and peace and remind ourselves that caritas is the answer, not hate.

Because if we lose sight of Dr. King’s work, we could very well fall into a dangerous new era of history.

About Nick Li

Nick has been a part of the BFC for two years and formerly held the role of Social Media Editor. A Malvern native, Nick is a captain of the baseball team and will be attending and playing for Johns Hopkins University next year. He also is President of the Diversity Awareness Club and participates actively in other clubs.

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