King’s legacy much more than a dream

Today, of course, is a state and national holiday. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Unfortunately, to many, the day has become more about the lack of mail delivery and closed offices than civil rights.

A national holiday since 1986, MLK Day, as it’s come to be called, has more of a personal connection for many of us than any other federally-designated “day.”

Nobody alive today was around to hear the words or watch the actions of Washington, Lincoln and others who are honored by state and federal governments. We just enjoy the fruits of their labors … this great nation of ours.

But MLK is different. For many of us Dr. King, his work and legacy are a part of our history. We read his works, we saw the impact of his actions and we heard his speeches on the nightly news. Some here in the Keweenaw got much closer than that.

So it’s with that recent point of reference that we celebrate MLK Day. We remember the accomplishments and continue the work.

For the 25th year, Michigan Technological University is celebrating MLK Day with a week’s worth of activities. Today, students and staff are reading about King’s life and work to elementary school students in Houghton and Hancock.

Tonight, the 25th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet will be held on the Tech campus. Dr. Max Seel, Tech’s provost will give the keynote address. On Tuesday, Tech faculty staff and students will be joined by their counterparts at Finlandia University for a public discussion on social justice and equality.

On Wednesday there will be a viewing of “King: A Filmed Record” at 7 p.m. in Fisher Hall on the Tech campus.

The civil rights struggle in this country, as the saying goes, has come a long way but still has a way to go.

We can get there, but only if we hold on to King’s dream.