Every year, on the third Monday of January, we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This year, MLK Day occurs on King’s actual birthday, when he would have turned 89 had he not been tragically assassinated.
We all know King as the southern Baptist preacher turned civil rights activist, but sometimes the reason we commemorate this holiday is not well-known.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a time set aside to remember the charge he led regarding civil rights during a tumultuous period in American history and the everlasting change he brought about. Even during this turbulent time, King made a name for himself through nonviolent and peaceful protests.
He organized and led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, the 1963 march on Washington, the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march, and more. These famous events were turning points in the fight against racial segregation and for equality.
He championed them all and became even more of a leader after his “I Have a Dream” speech, where he praised the founding values of our country and how they applied to people of every race, gender, and creed.
More than a day to remember the progress our country has made over the past century and the bravery of a man who sacrificed his life as a voice for racial equality, MLK Day has also become a time for service and community.
In recognition of a man who brought together communities and lived a life of justice and service, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an opportunity for each of us to give back.
We all have an obligation to contribute to the places we call home, improving Ohio as a whole.
Your involvement can range from volunteering in youth sports to joining your local government to lend your voice to the issues. When we each give our time and attention to local events and organizations, we become stronger as a society and our state reaps the benefits.
In remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this coming Monday, a man who was dedicated to improving our country at its very core, I encourage you to take a close look at your own town or city and see where you might be able to influence positive change.
Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) represents the 91st District, which includes Clinton County.