Prior to this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service that was observed on January 18, Students for Human Dignity & Diversity in Action gathered on campus for lunch and reflection. The day is celebrated to honor Dr. King by following his example of serving and helping others. Since 2019, the organization has done an annual visit to Dooky Chase’s Restaurant that included a serving of the restaurant’s signature creole cuisine and history lessons. However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, this time lunch from the restaurant was brought to campus.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., and sometimes referred to as MLK Day), is a federal holiday in the United States marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year. Dr. King, whose birthday is January 15, was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. Soon after his assassination in 1968, the campaign began for a federal holiday in Dr. King’s honor. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law, and it was first observed three years later. In 2000, it was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time.
At the luncheon, member Samantha White who also serves as the organization’s chaplain gave a blessing and read the following prayer.
Lord God, You led your chosen people from slavery in Egypt to the freedom of the Promised Land.
We ask you to lead our community from any enslavement to hatred, ignorance, fear, racism, injustice, or anything else that prevents us from being the community of love and respect that you want us to be.
We remember with gratitude today the witness of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and we ask that we have the courage and determination to follow his example in battling injustice and living the Gospel of love.
Help us, Lord, to make ever more the community you want us to be. Grant all this through Christ our Lord,