Martin Luther King Day & Community

Martin Luther King Day & Community

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is observed annually on the third Monday in January. This day commemorates the life and work of Dr. King in the American civil rights movement. Britannica notes that this is a day for people not only to commemorate Dr. King, but also to reflect on racial equality and nonviolent means to make social change – such as sit-ins and peaceful protests. This is a day to reflect not only on how far we have come in racial equality, but to also reflect on how much further we still need to go. 

However, this is also a day to reflect on how we might be able to strengthen and build our community through common values and ideals. When Dr. King gave his “I have a dream” speech, it not only brought people together through passion, but through the common ideal that all humans should be treated equally regardless of the color of their skin. It is this sense of community building that is important for not only our community as a whole, but for our own social and emotional health.

This short article by Wellbeing People explores the many benefits of having a supportive community. One of the reasons listed is that community provides a sense of support and connection between others. This bond can grow even stronger when the community shares a similar passion – such as racial equality in our society. 

According to Psychology Today this community bond grows even stronger when members of the community make themselves vulnerable with one another. This might be seen when members of the community share their struggles with the group – such as when a member of the community discusses microaggressions they have faced and how that has impacted them emotionally. This openness allows for a stronger bond between community members, it also encourages others to share their story. This stronger community allows for individuals to feel bonded, welcome, and important in something other than their own personal lives. 

With the importance of community in the forefront of your mind, we wanted to provide you with a few resources to help build community around racial equality:

The website Racial Equity Tools provides a plethora of resources on the importance of community building and how to do so in a way that helps further the equity battle. We also recommend taking a look at our Race, Equity, and SEL page. This page offers stories, strategies, texts, and approaches for greater understanding and creating a more accepting learning, living, and working environment and community.

We hope this encourages you to take a moment to reflect on the strides we have made towards racial equality in our schools, homes, and communities, while also remembering that there is much more to be done.

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