Editorial: MLK Day should be remembered by service, not classes

Review Editorial Board

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Americans celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on the third Monday of January each year and while it is optional for employers and educational institutions to give employers and students the day off, an institution committed to diversity and inclusion, such as Linfield, shouldn’t hesitate to observe this holiday.

People can volunteer for community service projects and attend seminars in remembrance of Dr. King’s legacy of compassionate, nonviolent resistance.

“On this day we commemorate Dr. King’s great dream of a vibrant, multiracial nation united in justice, peace and reconciliation; a nation that has a place at the table for children of every race and room at the inn for every needy child,” wrote Coretta Scott King in an essay on the meaning of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day posted on The King Center website.

“We are called on this holiday, not merely to honor, but to celebrate the values of equality, tolerance and interracial sister and brotherhood he so compellingly expressed in his great dream for America,” she continued.

While Linfield does organize a few scattered volunteer opportunities, the January term students are still required to attend classes. This makes it difficult for those students to participate in the projects scheduled for the day because they are in class or working on homework.

An institution that, in its mission statement, claims that it “honors the rich texture of diverse cultures and varied ways of understanding” and “inspires the courage to live by moral and spiritual principle and to defend freedom of conscience” should recognize the monumental role Dr. King played in allowing Linfield to even claim this as an aspiration for higher education.

If it’s not possible to give students the day off, Linfield could at least bolster its offering of activites.

Though it may be a symbolic gesture, it seems appropriate to offer a more concrete celebration of the man who so caringly altered the fabric of our country and made higher education a reachable goal for so many Americans.

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Editorial: MLK Day should be remembered by service, not classes