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How Can Families Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day?

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a federal holiday celebrated annually on the third Monday of January. In 2021, the holiday falls on January 20.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day to remember one of the leading voices of racial justice and equality. It is a day “on”, not a day “off”. 

A Baptist minister and activist, Dr. King used nonviolent methods to promote racial equality throughout the county, but specifically in the southern United States. Some of his nonviolent methods included marches, sit-ins and boycotts. Dr. King led the Civil Rights Movement, and the ripples of his good work are untold. 

Jan. 18, 2021 is a day meant to celebrate the teaching of Dr. King and the movements he led. Explaining racial injustice to children can be difficult but is necessary.  

Here are three ways to share Dr. King’s message with children. 

Read or Watch the “I Have a Dream” Speech
For children old enough to follow and understand the message, reading or watching Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is most impactful. His message became one of the most iconic in American history. Families can watch or read the speech together and discuss its ideas after.

Draw a Picture
Young children can draw pictures of common themes promoted by Dr. King. For example, ask your children to draw a picture of people being nice to each other and explain why it is important to respect all individuals. 

Community Service
Showing others compassion and appreciation are key ideas promoted by Dr. King throughout his life. Children can donate clothes or toys to others in need, make cards for local first responders or volunteer with their family at a local shelter.

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