Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2021
Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 2021
This Monday, January 18th, Americans will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a time set aside to honor an icon in our nation’s history. The federal holiday, celebrated on the Monday nearest King’s birthday on January 15, was originally established in 1983, but first celebrated in 1986. In 1994 MLK Day was designated by Congress as the nation’s first “day of service,” with community service efforts to be led by AmeriCorps.
There are many opportunities for honoring Dr. King this Monday. For people who are already active in anti-racism and racial justice work, MLK Day can be a valuable time for reflection, self-care, and healing. For those ready to step up to the plate and get involved in ongoing efforts for racial justice, the holiday is the perfect time to get started! Wherever you fit, there are resources available to help you make the most in honoring King’s groundbreaking work.
Robert W. Kelley/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
Reflect and Rest
- Talk with friends and family who remember the Civil Rights movement—ask them about their feelings, their involvement, and where they were when they heard the news of key events like student sit-ins, Rosa Parks’s arrest, or King’s assassination. You can get the conversation going by showing them others’ memories from that time.
- Read poems or enjoy music from the civil rights era or relax with a novel, choosing a civil rights theme and/or an author of color. Check out the Black Deaf Center’s reading list for some great recommendations. Better yet, purchase your new book from a Black-owned bookstore!
- Check out @TheNapMinistry to learn about napping as resistance.
National Civil Rights Museum
- Go on a virtual visit to The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, to browse their exhibits and plan a post-pandemic trip. Their special exhibition “Standing Up by Sitting Down” features stories about the power of student sit-ins and boycotts.
- Read King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
- Watch “Signing Black in America” to learn about the Black Deaf history. Use the viewer discussion guide to dig deeper in conversations with friends, loved ones, and students.
- Use the day off to learn about building an anti-racist workplace.
- Attend Detroit Disability Power’s virtual event “Sunday Solidarity: Building Beloved Community” on Sunday, January 17th at 2:30 to prepare for MLK Day. Choose from a series of workshops featuring “storytelling, resource sharing, healing, and direct action in honor of our community’s collective work towards justice and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” ASL interpretation and CART will be provided.
National Black Deaf Advocates
- If possible, volunteer safely with food banks and pantries.
- Deliver meals to senior citizens.
- Check with your local school for MLK activities.
- Donate blood.
- Check on your neighbors, or organize a neighborhood street sweep.
- Work with AmeriCorps to serve your community.
- Donate to or volunteer with the Black Deaf Center or National Black Deaf Advocates.
- Volunteer from home.
Whether you choose to reflect and learn about MLK’s legacy, or roll up your sleeves and volunteer, we hope these resources will serve as a good starting place as we all continue the work of building a more just America together.