The holiday of Martin Luther King Jr. is taken for granted; to many of us it is just another day off from school. A luxury, one may say, free from class, teachers, textbooks and day-to-day fuss. Majority of us do not do anything special on this day except chill out. The thought of King and why we truly have this day off does not even cross many of our minds.
As students on Eastern Michigan University’s campus, we should take full advantage of this holiday and try and do something in his honor. Especially since there was a time when EMU did not recognize MLK day as a holiday. Classes use to be held on that day just as if it was any other day.
It wasn’t until students made a call to action. One of the pillars of that movement is now a current African American Studies professor on EMU’s campus, Professor David Walton. If it had not been for his drive, tenacity and determination to change policies and circumstances we may still be in class on Monday, as if it was just another day.
With that being said, what does Martin Luther King Day mean to the students of EMU?
Senior Chris Tyler expressed, “MLK day represents the openness to be able to make friends of any race, where that option/availability was not there before.” Tyler also stated that, “MLK Day is a reminder for White students what the experience was for students of color, and for Black students it is a day of remembrance.”
Many of the people that were interviewed either felt as if we take this day for granted, they had no opinion on the topic at all or it was just another day for them.
Miranda Mack, sophomore, said she believes, “MLK would want us to celebrate this day for rights, equality and peace. The day is important to have off on Eastern’s campus only if people recognized the holiday how it should be.”
Aynary Robertson, junior, felt as if MLK Day is a day to remember someone who stood for our rights. He would’ve loved to meet Dr. King and to be able to ask him how did he stay strong and positive during the civil rights movement. He also said he would thank him for his achievements and let him know that we are still fighting.
Jarell Pearson said, “MLK Day to him means change and bringing people together as one.”
Being a bi-racial student he feels that he has had experiences with both sides of the spectrum.
“Dr. King did not care what people thought and he practiced what he preached. Togetherness and unity was key,” said Pearson.
Kiara Rhodman felt, “It is important to have the day off because it’s the thought that counts. Dr. King at least crosses our mind at some point during the day because we do have the day off. If Eastern took the day away it would be just another day, another thoughtless day without even a second of remembrance of him.”
Joshua Caldwell, who goes by Gabrielle Iglesias, said, “Monday is a day to commemorate the guy who started the civil rights [movement]. He moved us to fight back; he made a big change for black people. Why not give him a day? He gave race a voice.”
What will you do to remember Dr. Martin Luther King? Tweet us at @EasternEcho_AE.