Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2021 is Monday, January 17. The holiday is celebrated on the third Monday in January to commemorate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.( MLK Jr.). He was born Michael King Jr., but his father changed his name when we was 5 years old after a trip to Germany. His actual birthday is January 15, 1929. He would be 93 years old today.
Martin Luther King Jr. is known today for being an activist for civil rights. He was imprisoned many times and his “I have a dream” speech is familiar in most American households. He was ultimately assassinated in 1968, and the US government established this holiday in 1983.
Excerpt from the “I have a dream” speech, August 28, 1963 from the March on Washington:
…And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!…
Learn more about Martin Luther King Jr. from The King Center and ways to be involved.
If you have time, please watch the two videos below with your family. The first is the actual “I have a dream speech” in its entirety. The second video is a summary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life work to share with your younger children.
Honoring MLK Jr. Day in Lake Country
Many schools in the area have off on MLK Jr. Day. Because this is a federal holiday all banks and post offices will be closed, too. If your children are off school, they can spend the day researching and learning more about Martin Luther King Jr. and the causes he fought for for civil rights, equity (which is different from equality), and social justice. The internet and books are great places to research, and there are local community events occurring, too. Some of the following events are geared toward adults, while others are geared toward children and families. We included the adult only programs, because we take a life-long learning approach to life and because it is important for parents to have a better grasp on understanding issues so they can properly discuss them age appropriately with their children.
Local MLK Jr. Events in the Lake Country Area:
- Attend the Martin Luther King Jr. Day storytime at the Waukesha Public Library.
- Monday, January 17 at 10:30 am
- Registration is not required
- Take part in the collaborative all-ages art project at the Waukesha Public Library.
- Drop by anytime on January 17 (9:00 am to 8:30 pm)
- Space will be provided in the Library lobby, the Teen Zone, and near the adult section.
- Waukesha Public Library will be sharing art supplies for everyone to contribute to a Community Journal. Everyone is welcome to draw, color, and glue to their heart’s content to create a journal on the theme of “More Than Words: A Creative Impact on Change.” Impact others through art!
- Join the Waukesha Library via Zoom for a conversation on More than Words: A Creative Impact on Change
- Monday, January 17 at 6:30 pm
- Must register. Register HERE.
- Register and attend the Martin Luther King Day School Age Book Discussion at the Waukesha Public Library
- Thursday, January 20 at 6:30 pm
- The discussion will be of Booked, by Kwame Alexander
- Register at the Children’s Reference Desk and receive your copy of the book! This discussion is for children in grades 4, 5, and 6.
- Register HERE.
- Register and attend the virtual event through the Marcus Center: 38th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Virtual Celebration (All ages)
- January 17, 2022
- Details HERE.
- Register and attend the virtual event through the Metropolitan Milwaukee YMCA: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
- Monday, January 17 from 8:00 am to 9:30 am.
- Information on both events can be found HERE.
- Participate in one of the 4 events by Kids Impact Community
January 17 – various times throughout the day
- Attend a virtual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration through Waukesha County Technical College
- January 17 from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm
- This is geared for adults, age 18 and up
- Register HERE.
- Register and attend a number of virtual events through the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County (Ages 18 and up)
- See the featured opportunities HERE.
If your schedule does not allow you to attend one of the events above, there are other ways to honor and remember the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Just starting the conversation in your home with your family is step one. If you don’t know where to start the conversation, having books on hand (I prefer physical books over e-books) is a great way to naturally begin a conversation. Books breed questions. Questions breed knowledge. The title of the book or images can lead children to ask questions and from questions, a healthy conversation of our history and how we got to where we are today collectively. If you don’t have books on hand, there are no shortage of current events from the past year to start a conversation. Remember to keep conversations age and child appropriate. Parents, you know your child best.
Find age appropriate resources HERE.
Find local parenting support resources HERE.
*Because this is a federal holiday all banks and post offices will be closed.