Martin Luther King performed many actions that advocated freedom for all in his lifetime. It was these actions that prompted the idea of giving him a national holiday.
The idea for a day celebrating MLK first came around a few days after his assassination. Labor Unions promoted this idea in contract negotiations.
John Conyers, a democrat from Michigan, introduced legislation in 1968, but the bill was stalled for many years. There were two major arguments against it; including the cost of a paid day off and that it would be a holiday for a private citizen. Usually holidays are only held for those who have held office.
Finally, in 1983 President Ronald Reagan passed the legislation for the national holiday. But it took an additional three years for the holiday to first be observed.
To counselor Charmaine Ferrer, this day has much significance.
“I think it’s a day where everyone is able to celebrate freedom, and look at our history and our past to see all of the struggles that everyone has gone through,” Ferrer said. “MLK Day is a day of reflection on how far our country and mindset has grown”.
So take some time this Monday to think about MLK Day and why this holiday is celebrated in this nation.