This act is defined by the reannouncing of something public and official.
According to USA Today in January 2016, here is history as to the legislative history around Martin Luther King, Jr. Day:
On Nov. 3, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill marking the third Monday of every January, as Martin Luther King, Jr., day, according to the center. The holiday was to begin in 1986. In January 1986, the first national Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday was observed.
Coincidentally, 1986 was when I began my elementary education. Moreover, every president since Regan signs this proclamation every year, ergo it remains a holiday. Seems redundant.
However, in keeping with the man and the honor expected of today, I offer the same wisdom he did half a century ago:
It’s expected to say something today to be encouraging and profound today. The life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is encouraging and profound. However, there are portions of his life and work, that don’t qualify him as ‘the good Negro’ he is sometimes classified as.
The work, social justice, civil equality, dismantling of systems of oppression, is not easy and is thankless. We see now the lust towards the power certain white people had generations ago where words and looks could, would end the lives of people of color. We see a march towards the reversal of things equitable, just and fair in favor of reestablishing what white supremacy has dictated to be the most right way. We see those using coded language for its implementation–and the silence of those whom have seen such an incarnation before, yet do nothing–because whiteness, its privilege and the profits gained or granted therein.
There is a romance to racism this country worships and imbibes which I’m sure that my grandmother could better explain, and my mother endured as a nurse at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Being alive to see this, it is easy to be afraid, and look for the rescue from the slow march to national destruction from Washington, D.C. Even one of my writing sheroes, Roxanne Gay, in an article from the New York Times details that no one is going to save us from this administration.
However, there was no one to protect us in administrations prior. We as a people began to do that–creating our own schools, businesses, and edifying one another. And we still had to fight to get a cat up off you because in the words of Barack H. Obama “Folk wanna pop off…”
On today, I want to know that you are valued, you are worthy, you are entitled to all this life has to offer. Today is a celebration of the life of a man that embodied one aspect, one facet of a movement meant to uplift and encourage people, and change the face of this nation. This work, social justice, civil rights, equality for all people, dismantling of systems of oppression is on-going. Now, in this dispensation it is our turn, my turn, your turn to fight. The rescue is in your mouth and resources–and what we as a people are willing to pull together to create the better we so desperately want and know what can have.
Today, we celebrate the life of a man who dared to look this nation in the face and call it a lie: in word, in action, and in deed. Today, we celebrate a forged path able to withstand those that walked with him, ahead of him, and us coming after. Today, remember your power is service–even when no one calls your name or sees you. You must remember the rescue you seek, you can create.
Today, let no one tell you that you cannot. History has proven that you can, you shall, and you will. We shall overcome indeed, but sometimes, you need to first acknowledge you first must get over.