Students, teachers recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day, how Black Lives Matter movements have affected its importance

Jasmine Zhang, Student Section Reporter

On the third Monday of January each year, people all over the country honor and remember the life and accomplishments of Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK). As a civil rights activist, MLK led the American civil rights movement with the goal of bringing equality and ensuring equal rights for everyone. For junior Zyrah Arulogun, (MLK)Day is an essential day to be celebrated. 

“MLK day needs to be brought to students’ attention. I don‘t think many of them truly understand why he was fighting and why people continue that same fight today. Considering how a lot of injustices within the school are brushed over, it would be crucial for students to not only acknowledge but also process and have discussions around his life and what he did.” Arulogun said. 

Despite the efforts to properly honor MLK, such as national observance and many businesses and schools closing in honor of MLK’s life, Arulogun said she believes this day is not celebrated enough.

“Everyone knows who MLK is and the general idea of what he did but no one ever really digs deep into the struggles and hardships he faced during the civil rights movement or the criticism he faced,” she said.

Arulogun isn’t alone in her view. James Ziegler, sponsor for the Black Student Alliance Club, said he believes MLK Day is a day to celebrate and bring attention to those who have fought for justice and equality both before, alongside and after MLK.

“We cannot sit by idly,” Ziegler said.We must be actively anti-racist as a society and community and follow the lead of individuals like Dr. King, Fannie Lou Hamer, John Lewis, Diane Nash, Angela Davis and so many others who fought racist policies, racist ideas and helped continue pushing forward the ark of justice and equality through their activism.” 

The recent rise of Black Lives Matter (BLM) movements resonating globally has heavily impacted the importance of MLK Day. For many, it is a reminder that the fight for racial justice is never over. 

Sophomore Ramani Satishkumar said she thinks the BLM movement will influence those who didn’t take the civil rights movement to heart in previous years.

“Hopefully, MLK Day will serve as a reminder to students at Carmel of the tragic events that happened during MLK’s lifetime as well as the recent events that took place in 2020,” she said.

Ziegler said, “ I believe the BLM movement has helped to reawaken the conscience of a nation to the deep-seated racism that still exists and the work that needs to be done. Sadly, in too many ways history is repeating itself and we continue to see the devastating effects of institutional racism and racist policies every day in the United States.”

Ziegler said he encourages everyone to take at least a part of the day to give back to their community and to do something to combat racial inequity. 

The possibilities are endless,” he said. “We just cannot be complacent when there is so much that needs to be done.  Channel the energy and spirit of Dr. King and let us strive to reach the goals for equality, for as Dr. King stated, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’”

Daniel Tian