The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday was enacted in 1983 and observed nationwide in 1986. The King Holiday is often recognized as a day of service. MLK Day of Service is intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems, and move us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.”
I clearly remember my mother being excited about the passage of the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, stating that in her lifetime, she never imagined that this could happen. This holiday is very personal for her because of how her childhood was impacted daily by the separate but equal laws that were pervasive in the south. My mother experienced drinking from separate water fountains, not being able to go to the main public library, etc. She longed for the day that she would be able to access more books than were available at the library designated for blacks. My mom remembers Dr. King and the Civil Rights movement. Her brothers even marched with Dr. King when he would come to Mississippi. They would participate in local sit-ins and yes, they sometimes experienced the downside of their participation.
My mom often reflects on Dr. King's peaceful approach and while it was difficult, his approach of facing hate with love has always shown her how to face adversity.
Today, I sit here proud to work for PetSmart, a company that embraces difference and treats its employees with love and inclusion. We work every day to create the "beloved community" that Dr. King envisioned. I encourage you to learn more about the MLK holiday and how you can impact your community through service.