On Monday, our nation will observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Congress passed the holiday legislation in 1983, which was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. It was first observed Jan. 20, 1986.
In support of the law, 6 million signatures were collected for a petition to Congress, termed by an article in The Nation magazine as “the largest petition in favor of an issue in U.S. history.”
In 1998, President Bill Clinton signed into law legislation to transform the King holiday into a day of citizen action and volunteer service. Since then, in honor of Dr. King, volunteers across the country have donated their time and resources to make a difference in their communities.
Locally, several organizations, colleges, religious institutions and the military are planning a parade and various other programs. I want to encourage these groups also to include a volunteer project in their activities if such hasn’t already been planned.
As I have done for several years, I have chosen to make contributions to agencies that provide services to youth. This year I will be contributing to the Boys and Girls Club, the Mini Theatre and the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History in honor of Dr. King. And I suggest to my fellow citizens that this is a great way to honor the man who led our great country out of bondage.
Tracy E. Williams Jr.