Event | MLK Birthday Celebration Recap

To young children and even some many adults, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday is simply just another day off from school and work. It’s much more than that actually. I wanted to use this year’s holiday as an opportunity to expose my daughter to not only a day of fun but who Dr. King was and why we celebrate his legacy. 

We celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s life and legacy for being a champion of social justice and he worked tirelessly to move racial relations and thus our nation forward. The complexities of civil rights, systemic racism and social injustice are pretty heavy for a three year old. So I took a cue from my earliest educators (shout out to public school educators) and focused my objectives to three questions:

  1. Who is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? 
  2. Can we expand awareness of racial similarities and differences in a constructive way? 
  3. (Point of Privilege & Cultural Significance) Have You been exposed to Stevie Wonder’s version of “Happy Birthday”? 
Last weekend, when I was down to thinking I’d waited too long to start researching something to do, a text message from another local mom landed right into my lap. It was just what I’d been looking for – an age appropriate educational and affordable activity! The Birthday Party for MLK at Northgate Mall in Durham, NC. This was a day of interactive activities, crafts, performances, and service projects.

We met our friends and attended the Explosively Powerful Storytime in the MakerLab presented by the Durham County Library. The presentation was very interactive and the speaker had a great voice for story telling. We were able to fulfill my number one goal of “Who is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr?” here.

We tackled the next objective, “Can we expand awareness of racial similarities and differences in a constructive way?” at one of the many craft booth’s offered. We stopped by for a little craft time that was presented by the International PreSchool Of Raleigh. They offered an adorable diy that featured beige and brown hands that children could decorate – representative of the multi-cultural world that we live in. 

The event ended with elder community members recounting their experiences from the civil right era, integration of the local school system and biases that are still present today. There was even a group sing along to Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday” and birthday cake! (goal #3: crushed!)

Due to the recent inclement weather, we weren’t able to make it to the library today. I wanted to definitely continue our discussion at home of what we’d experienced on this year’s holiday.

Here is a great list of picture book recommendations for your little ones!

Did you have the day off? If so, what did you do in your local community?

I’d love to know about your activities and events this MLK Jr. Day. If you have any video or pictures you’d like to share, share them on my Facebook page!

Happy MLK day! Keep his legacy alive and remember, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Dr. Martin Luther King


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