Martin Luther King Jr. Day a time to reflect, debate

To the Editor:

So we have the day off. Now what?

Do we sleep in? Make it a three-day weekend?

Clearly, some will engage in these activities their first Martin Luther King Jr. day off. At the same time, others will stop, reflect, go to services, engage in insightful dialogue and consider the importance of such a day. As long as there are individuals taking advantage of suspended classes to do the latter, the importance of canceling classes has been verified.

It should be recognized that Martin Luther King Jr. Day is not a day solely about and for African-Americans. This day is intended for anybody who believes that all citizens should be allowed to participate fully in a society. This day is for any individual who appreciates the great strides this country has made in recent decades to undo years of discrimination and intolerance.

Yet the struggle for civil rights is not simply a history lesson — it is unfinished American business. The injustices fought by courageous individuals such as King remain deeply embedded within the fabric of American culture, and it is our collective responsiblity to see them eradicated.

However, if one cannot make a commitment to finishing this work in some manner, even on this special day, then there is indeed much work to be done.

To some, enjoy your day off. To all others, keep up the good work.

John Kenneth Johnson ’03

January 20, 2001

John Johnson ’03 is a co-coordinator of the Martin Luther King Day Coordinating Committee.

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