This month, we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The first Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was celebrated on January 20, 1986. (Fun fact: not all fifty states observed MLK Day until the year 2000.) Traditionally, the day is celebrated on the third Monday of the month of January, which is near King’s birthday – January 15. Dr. King is remembered and regarded as the spokesman for nonviolence in the civil rights movement. His “I Have a Dream” speech is as poignant today as it was when he delivered it back in 1963. Today, we dedicated our Family Fun Day to him and all that he has done for our great nation.
The University of Akron’s annual Martin Luther King Jr., Activities Fair
Every year on MLK Day, the community and students of the University of Akron host an activities fair to educate and celebrate the legacy of Dr. King. The fair, which is geared toward children in grades K-12 and their families, was designed so people could have a “day on” rather than a “day off”. The day is always focused on responsibility, non-violence, education, and respect. This year’s MLK Jr. Day Activities Fair is being sponsored by the University of Akron’s Multicultural Center, The Women’s & Gender Resource Center and The Office of Inclusion & Equality.
- This year’s event will be held from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
- The event is open to the public and presented free of charge.
- The event is held in UA’s Student Union Grand Ballroom. The Student Union is located at 303 Carroll St, Akron, OH 44325. Parking is available in the Schrank Hall South parking deck, which is located off East Exchange Street.
- The direct phone number for the Student Union building is 330-972-8689.
- In the days leading up to MLK Day, use the discussion points below to educate your children about Dr. King and his legacy. You could also go to your local library and check out storybooks about MLK. This will make the day more meaningful.
- There are lots of fun things for the kids, including face painting, crafts, coloring, balloons, and jewelry making.
- Learn about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. Visual displays and pictorial galleries enhance the experience, especially for young visitors.
- In the past, there has been live gospel music, as well as performances from the Buchtel High CLC Step Team, the Rygt Step Urban Line Dancers. African dance workshops have also been offered. This year’s flier lists “performance,” but has yet to give details.
- More than 25 student and community organizations come out for the event.
- Here is a way to help even your little ones understand the significance of MLK Jr. day. Ask your kids how everyone is treated at their school. Is everyone treated fairly? Tell them that MLK Jr.’s goal was for everyone to be friends.
- Talk to your children about race and skin color. Ask them if it is fair to treat people differently just because of how they look?
- Explain to your children that when Dr. King was alive, black and white people went to different schools, ate at different restaurants, and couldn’t even drink out of the same water fountain. Is that fair treatment? How would they feel?
- This is a great discussion particularly for your middle schoolers and teens. What do they do at school when they see someone being bullied? Do they ignore the situation, help, or fight back? Explain that MLK Jr. was a man who always believed in standing up for what was right. He also truly believed that one voice could make a difference. (Look at how he made an impact.) Bullying is something that still exists today and no one should have to endure it.
- How did women affect the civil rights movement? Share with your kids the story of Rosa Parks and how she refused to sit in the “colored” section of a bus. Once again, one voice.
Can you think of any other discussion points to educate your children about Martin Luther King, Jr.? How does your family celebrate MLK Jr. Day? Let us know!
Photo Copyright: [mlk-smile]. Retrieved January 14, 2015 from www.drmartinlutherking.net
Photo Copyright: [MLKDay-600]. Retrieved January 14, 2015 from www.uakron.edu.
Photo Copyright: [Untitled Image]. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.ohio.com.