This Monday, we will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And while it’s always great to get a long weekend, please, please don’t think of Monday as just another day off.
MLK Day should, quite honestly, make us feel a little bit uncomfortable. (And frankly, I’m talking to my fellow white people here.) It should inspire us, yes. But it should also break our hearts, make us feel sick, and push us into action. It should encourage us to take a long, hard look at ourselves and our biases, and be brave enough to change. So with that in mind, here are just a few meaningful ways you can honor Dr. King this week and beyond:
- Take a stroll down Columbia’s Main Street with the self-guided Civil Rights Walking Tour, and learn first-hand about how the Civil Rights Movement shaped the history of our city.
- Watch Selma. It’s beautifully done, and hopefully, will leave you completely undone.
- Visit the Columbia Museum of Art. It’s FREE on Monday, and offers events all day to honor Dr. King. “Join the Friends of African American Art and Culture to celebrate a short film by Roni Nicole Henderson that explores the discovery of a young woman’s charge and crown: black bodies buckling, but not breaking, under the weight of American life. The drop-in celebration for all ages honors the legacies of our ancestors and recharges us for the work happening now and yet to come. Meet the artist, try your hand in crafting affirmation keepsakes, move to the rhythm of vocal and dance performances by NAACP’s ACT-SO Columbia Chapter, and explore the galleries during this lively day of self-care.” – CMA
- Listen to Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech in its entirety. It will be the best 17 minutes you’ve spent all day.
- Talk to your children about Martin Luther King Jr., about how his philosophy of peace, unity, and nonviolence changed the fabric of our nation.
- Read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It’s truly one of the best books I’ve read in the past year. I couldn’t put it down. “As we continue to fight the battle against police brutality and systemic racism in America, THE HATE U GIVE serves as a much needed literary ramrod. Absolutely riveting!” (Jason Reynolds, bestselling coauthor of ALL AMERICAN BOYS)
- Consider taking an implicit racial bias test to take stock of any unchecked bias or privilege you might be harboring without even realizing it. The results are fascinating and eye-opening.
- If you are not a person of color, spend a little time leaning into and reading up on the Black Lives Matter movement and see why it’s so important.
- And while you’re at it, check out Be The Bridge for brass-tacks strategies for being a racial bridge-builder in your everyday life, and Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack of white privilege.
- And perhaps most importantly of all, pour some light and love into the world this Monday. Buy the coffee of the person behind you in line. Hold the door for a stranger. Drop cookies off on a neighbor’s doorstep. Write a letter to a friend letting them know how much they mean to you. Leave nothing good unspoken. Because in the words of Dr. King, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Let’s each do our best every single day to drive out darkness with light.