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Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
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Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Day, Jr. Day
Shrugging off all the whitewashing and consumerism slowly encroaching upon this day – make sure your kids know the historical context of the civil rights movement, and why it’s important to support our leaders and recognize their humanity.
Part of raising tenaciously resilient kids is showing them what’s possible – who came before them and lit a path on how to fight against almost impossible odds? Who kept going despite fear and uncertainty? And what responsibility do our kids have – do we have – to carry on that legacy and keep fighting in a battle that continues to this day?
When is Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day?
- Annually on the 3rd Monday in January
For the purposes of the discussion below, these are most effectively read in order from the top down.
- I Am Martin Luther King, Jr. (ages 3.5-8)
Recommended for the purpose of showing how media whitewashes and cherry-picks the parts of MLK acceptable to white moderates, but it’s also a good introductory book about racism. This was the first book we used to discuss racism with our eldest when he was three.)
- My Daddy (ages 4-8)
An autobiographical account from King’s son, on his role as a father. If you can only read one book about MLK this month, make it this one.
- The Youngest Marcher (ages 5-12)
- What does it mean to be courageous?
(Taking action to help others, even when though we’re still afraid.)
- Was MLK born courageous, or did he grow to be courageous through practice?
- Whose responsibility is it to act with courage even though we’re scared? Leaders? Or everybody?
- What do we know about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., beyond his role as a civil rights leader?
- What is exceptionalism? What does it mean to place someone on a pedestal?
- When we reduce people to their role as ‘heroes,’ what unspoken message does this send kids who don’t see themselves as heroes? What responsibilities are we trying to avoid?
- Why is it important we remember and learn about leaders as regular people?
- Did MLK work alone? Who else worked to end segregation?
- What is nonviolent resistance?
TL;DR: Let’s make this simple, free & easy: text SIGN PYLOLZ to 50409 or and share to boost our action to secure voting rights access before MLK Day.
In keeping with MLK’s legacy and the wishes of his children and grand-children, call your Congresspeople to push stalled legislation in the Senate to secure voting access. Over the past five years, states have passed legislation blocking Black, brown & disabled citizens from voting, so it’s urgent we secure our rights immediately.
If you’d rather call, here’s a script you can use:
I’m writing you today to call for immediate action to
1. End the Senate filibuster,
2. Pass the Freedom to Vote Act, and
3. Pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
After our long US history of blocking voting rights due to gender, race, and class, in addition to recent state legislation designed to block voting access for Black, brown, disabled, and citizens with low-incomes, we would be hypocrites to celebrate MLK day this January without security voting rights and access for citizens.
Here’s the legislation we’re talking about:
- End the Senate filibuster
What does the filibuster has to do with voting rights? Here’s a 20-minute video (for older kids and adults) on how the filibuster was created and weaponized to block civil rights legislation. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have been particularly bent on obstructing the flow of civil rights legislation by supporting the filibuster. Make yourself heard.
- Pass the Freedom to Vote Act
This legislation makes it easier for citizens with limited transportation, disabilities, elders, and over-extended resources to register to vote. It secures early voting access for public elections and allows all voters to request mail-in ballots without having to justify why they can’t drag children or get time off work to visit the polls in-person. We’d get stronger security in voting systems, require transparency on political donations and gerrymandering.
- Pass and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act
- End the Senate filibuster
Resources to dig deeper:
- Segregation & Desegregation history for kids
- A kid’s compilation of non-violent resistance
- The best (and also some problematic) books about Martin Luther King
- Anti-Racism For Kids 101: Starting to talk about race
- Anti-Racism for Kids 102: Why not all racial discrimination is ‘racism’
- Anti-Racism for Kids 103: How White Supremacy Perpetuates Myths of Racial Purity