Martin Luther King Day was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 and is commemorated each year on the third Monday in January. We will observe the day on Jan. 20 this year.

King was a tireless advocate for the advancement of civil rights for people of color. Later in his life, his advocacy expanded to include the plight of all people who lived in poverty.

During a time when laws were in place that limited where people of color could walk, talk, eat and drink, King led a nonviolent movement that led to their repeal.

At a time when restrictions were in place that confined the employment, education and medical care of those with dark skin to low-paid positions and inferior institutions, King promoted the activism that exposed and broke down these barriers.

His work brought awareness to the hardship that resulted from racism. It was a time of great division. Some hearts were broken while other hearts were hardened.

King’s “I have a Dream” speech encapsulated his vision of peace and racial equality. It was a speech that resonated throughout the world. Due to the notoriety of the movement, the nations of Japan, the Netherlands, Canada, and Israel also adopted the observance of Martin Luther King Jr .Day.

U.S. Navy Chaplain Arnold Resnicoff conducted the first Israeli MLK Day ceremony in the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. The First Lady of Israel commented that both Israel and King shared the idea of “dreams.”

Chaplain Resnicoff continued this theme by quoting a verse from Genesis: “Behold the dreamer comes; let us slay him and throw him into the pit, and see what becomes of his dreams.” He continued his speech by saying, “from time immemorial, there have been those who thought they could kill the dream by slaying the dreamer, but — as the example of King’s life shows — such people are always wrong.”

A decade later, President Bill Clinton signed legislation that transformed MLK Day into a National Day of Service. Evil is overcome by doing good. (Romans 12:21).

Please consider doing an act of kindness in observance of the day.

“Little children, let’s not love with words or speech but with action and truth.” 1 John 3:18

STACY KEELIN may be reached at

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