Participate in MLK Day events

Shaina James

NMU’s decision to designate Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a university holiday is a welcome one, though it lagged behind the federal government by almost 30 years.

That is not to say Northern is the last university to do so. Lake Superior State University is now the only campus included in the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan that does not observe MLK Day as a university holiday.

While the decision to observe MLK Day came about suddenly between two academic semesters, it is important, nonetheless, that students recognize that the holiday is a day on, not a day off.

The holiday is one of service—a chance for students to learn about and speak out against current issues regarding social justice.

The university will be holding a number of events to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., and students should use the time off to attend these enriching, thought-provoking events.

Whether it is attending the viewing of the Presidential Inauguration on Monday, Jan. 21 or the screening of “Precious Knowledge” on Wednesday, Jan. 23, students can utilize these opportunities to become more involved on campus and in advocating for change.

The student body has enjoyed the entirety of winter break to take time off for relaxation, videogames and movie marathons; now that students have returned to an academic environment, they should engage themselves in the intellectual community once again.

After all, Martin Luther King Jr. changed the racial, political and social landscape of American culture.

During a period when African Americans were required to use separate facilities and acquiesce to white prejudice, MLK Jr. organized an effort for equality—a movement that exercised civil disobedience.

He did not promote peace through strength, nor did he meet violence with violence.

MLK Jr. was a man who believed he could turn an atmosphere of prejudice into one of progress.

When Ronald Reagan signed the King Holiday bill into law, Coretta Scott King said, “This is not a black holiday; it is a people’s holiday.”

The North Wind staff urges students to be active and engaged during their day off on MLK Day.

It is the least they can do for an iconic figure in American history who reminded a people that, “all men are created equal,” no matter their race or religion.

MLK Jr. once said, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

Start living this Monday, Jan. 21.