Your Day Off (On!)
Written by Outreach Coordinator Alexandra Johnson
Yesterday, millions of people remembered. Millions of people marched in honor of the cause. And millions will sat on the couch watching Law and Order marathons.
I won’t lie- my MLK day is usually spent sleeping in until whatever embarrassingly late hour I can get away with until my dad bangs on the door to wake me from what has turned into a 13-hour sleeping binge. This slumber is followed by consuming whatever contents in the fridge are left from the weekends’ meals and (starting and) finishing homework that normally would have been done Sunday night. Not terribly surprisingly, this is usually how the third day of my three-day-weekend is spent: reveling in my spare time.
I never felt like there was anything wrong with this, but I credit that to the fact that I never really stopped and thought about why I wasn’t in school that day. Dr. King’s story and the legacy of the movement he cared for so passionately have always been central to every lesson on civil disobedience I have even been given. I would hear the story and the words but would never really comprehend what they meant. I have lived in Atlanta ever since I can remember, but I’ve never been to the King Center downtown. Most of the time, I forget that he lived in my city, or rather, that I live in his.
Last year, I received an email from an Atlanta-based charity organization that was organizing service projects all over city in honor of MLK Day. The concept was foreign to me. Why would I want to go to community service when I could sleep in and watch six hours of trash television and eat all day? Then it finally occurred to me: MLK Day is not meant to be a day off. It’s meant to be a day on. What better way to honor Dr. King and his movement than giving back to the community?
I have always loved MLK Day. But now I love it for another reason. I love it because it reminds me of what is expected from me. I challenge you to think about this day as more than a homework catch-up day. I challenge you to really remember why you have today off from school and/or work. Will you be challenged in the future to transform your day off into a day on?