On Monday January 20, Americans from diverse backgrounds and communities will celebrate the life and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who fought for equality and justice. He dedicated his life to ending racism and all forms of discrimination. In 1968, Dr. King was on an environmental justice mission for Memphis striking sanitation workers. He was murdered by an assassin’s bullet before he could complete his mission.
Today, we are still confronted with injustices that threatens the lives of millions of African-Americans and other people of color.
A 15 year battle, Congressman John Conyers, Democrat from Michigan, petitioned for 15 years and introduced legislation for a commemorative holiday four days after King was assassinated in 1968. After the bill became stalled, a collection of six million names were submitted to Congress.
Conyers and Rep. Shirley Chisholm, Democrat of New York, resubmitted King holiday legislation each subsequent legislative session. Public pressure for the holiday gained momentum during the 1982 and 1983 civil rights marches in Washington.
Congress passed the holiday legislation in 1983, which was then signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. MLK Day is celebrated on the third Monday of January.
Check local listings for MLK celebration activities throughout Kalamazoo and surrounding communities.