Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the Bloomingdale-Riverview Area
Tell us what this holiday means to you and how you will celebrate?
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.
Celebrating King's Legacy
Among celebrations taking place Monday is the 27th annual Hillsborough County Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Interfaith Memorial Service at Mount Calvary Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 4902 N. 40thSt. in Tampa beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Hillsborough County Board of County Commission Chairman Ken Hagan, District 5, will bring greetings to the congregation, along with U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor. This year’s speaker is the Rev. Dr. Jeffery A.J. Johnson, pastor of Connections Community Church in Lake Wales and executive pastor of the 34th Street Church of God in Tampa.
The county’s Office of Community Affairs Liaison, Albert Coleman, will present this year’s Robert W. Saunders’ Award to Leon W. Russell, who recently retired as Pinellas County’s director of the Office of Human Rights. Russell implemented Pinellas County’s first Affirmative Action and Human Rights Ordinances, along with Pinellas County’s Equal Employment Opportunity program.
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.
To find area projects to participate in on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, visit the All for Good website.
Ways to Remember King
- Go to one of the bookstores at the Westfield Brandon mall and pick up a book on Dr. Martin Luther King’s life that you and your child can read together.
- Watch the History and Discovery Channel specials on Dr. Martin Luther King.
- Talk to your child about King’s life and have him write an extra-credit paper for school.
- Listen to the “I Have a Dream” speech, which you can download from the Internet.
- If you’re old enough to remember King’s assassination, talk to your child about that day and how it affected you and your family. Tell him what you were doing when you heard that King had been killed.
What does MLK Day mean to you? Tell us in the comments.