I am not comfortable turning the memory of Rev. King a generic holiday. 2022 can start with Happy New Year, Happy Ground Hog Day, and Happy Valentines Day. But I am not ready for MLK Day to be another joyful excuse for a BBQ or an extra ski day in snowy January.
The struggle that the now-sainted Martin Luther King led is ongoing. MLK may be a icon of American values, but the BLM fight is not universally accepted throughout the country even though it is the moral successor to Dr. King.
Looking through the Internet for King Day holiday graphics you get pages of cheerful red, white, and blue banners. The stock photo sites used by corporations and marketing firms have tens of pages of holiday hoopla like the banner at the top of this post. Yet, the ones I checked had no photos of the man, the rallies, or his arrests. The establishment seems to have either forgotten or buried the reason for the Monday day off.
Of course, I will “celebrate” Martin Luther King Day. But, for me it will be a day of contemplation, a time to assess my actions, and a time to recommit myself to equality. I will listen and try to be a genuine ally of BIPOC people in their quest for equality.
I hope that if enough of us reflect and act on the words of Dr. King that someday I will be able to wish you a “Happy Martin Luther King Day!”