To the Editor:
As a former staff member and editor of the Yale Daily News, I was very disappointed at Monday’s News’ View (“A closer look at Yale’s first MLK Day off,” 1/21) regarding Yale’s decision to have Martin Luther King Day off. Rather than devoting space to honor the civil rights leader’s legacy, the editors chose to repeat their argument from last year about how having this day off devalues other holidays.
The argument makes little sense. This is not a matter of whether one thinks that presidents or veterans are less or more important to America than Martin Luther King. Having this day off represents the dramatic and continuing struggle to achieve equality for a variety of groups that have been oppressed in America.
It recognizes the importance of continuing America’s and Yale’s progress toward racial equality.
Presidents Day has no similar noble goal; there is not a group of oppressed former presidents who need a holiday, nor a struggle to ensure presidents have equality. In the future, the Yale Daily News should look to honor Dr. King’s legacy rather than complaining about the lack of recognition of Presidents Day or other federal holidays.
The News should look to honor Dr. King’s legacy rather than complaining about the lack of recognition of Presidents Day or other federal holidays. Yale, led by its students and faculty, made a positive decision last year to recognize an important day for America. Many students spent the weeks up to yesterday organizing an impressive array of speakers and events for the holiday.
The News, in its capacity as being an important representative of the students, should embrace the hard work of these students, rather than continuing its criticism of the holiday.
Perry Bacon ’02
January 22, 2002
The writer is a former features editor of the Yale Daily News.