Article and graphic by Anthony Flores Cruz
On January 17, Santa Rosa High School students and students from across the country had an extra day off of school to celebrate the national holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Now that this day has gone by, the start of Black History Month gives us another occasion to remember his work.
I believe that it would be great to think about what the USA has gone through in order to end segregation. Many students already know who Martin Luther King Jr. is as many learned about him and all of his accomplishments. His powerful speech, “I Have A Dream,” shook all of America and was something that people are still talking about to this day.
Martin Luther King Jr. was an amazing leader in the civil rights movement. After his death, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill in 1983 that created a federal holiday to honor Martin Luther King Jr. and his commitment to justice and equal rights for everyone.
A question that may have come up for some is: did we achieve what MLK wanted? We have indeed evolved and stepped past America’s racist past, but to this day people of color still face racism. While Martin Luther King Jr. was a revolutionary leader, in modern times people will continue fighting for equality.
The Black Lives Matter movement began in July of 2013 when the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter was used after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, 17 months earlier, who passed away in 2012. The movement had always been huge, but it truly boomed in 2020 on May 26th, the day after the tragic death of George Floyd. Crowd counters tallied up the amount of people during riots and more than 50,000 people showed up to protest in Philadelphia. Ever since, the riots that occurred from the middle of 2020 have once again put the question back on the table: do people of color have the same privileges as white people in the United States?
Martin Luther King Jr. day is a reminder of the past and what people of color have fought for the last couple of decades. The Black Lives Matter riots have also once again reminded us of what we need to achieve, and honestly, having a day dedicated to honor our past is truly special and will help people of color fight for what they deserve.