Honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King
Each time we celebrate the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, we have the chance to do more than remember. We have the opportunity to take action that makes real and lasting changes in our communities.
This year, the Montana Human Rights Network has chosen not to organize an in-person event due to public health concerns regarding the omicron variant. Since we cannot be together in person, we encourage you to listen to one of the moving celebrations of Dr. Martin Luther King from our affiliate, Love Lives Here. Click here to access three recordings.
On this day, we also want to honor the wishes of Dr. King’s family. The King family has called on Americans to take action for voting rights, which are under attack in Montana and across the nation. To honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and the wishes of the King family, we have assembled a list of action items that will help you roll up your sleeves to work towards Dr. King’s vision of a Beloved Community.
Call or email your U.S. senators and representatives and tell them to support the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The Freedom to Vote Act will remove barriers to free and fair elections, and the legislation named after John Lewis will help the government respond to voting discrimination. Click here for contact information.
Watch one of the King Center’s presentations. The 2022 Beloved Community Awards by The King Center on Saturday, January 15. This event will be streaming live on Facebook at 7:30 pm ET. The King Center is also hosting the 2022 Martin Luther King, Jr. Beloved Community Commemorative Service on Monday, January 17, 2022 beginning at 10:00 A.M. EST. It will be and live-streamed on Facebook, YouTube and thekingcenter.org.
Send a thank-you note (snail mail or email) to your local school district, health department, hospital, or other public entity. There are so many good people making sure our beloved community runs smoothly, even during difficult times. They deserve some gratitude!
Virtually volunteer for a local or national cause. For example, you can write letters to seniors through Letters Against Isolation or sign up to be a Smithsonian Digital Volunteer and help make historical documents and biodiversity data more accessible. You can find other virtual volunteer opportunities at https://www.catchafire.org/
Make sure your knowledge about Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Era is accurate. Read primary sources like “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” to avoid sanitized versions of Dr. King’s messages. We also recommend “1619”, a podcast from the New York Times on Black history told by descendants of enslaved people. A list of films we recommend is below.
We recommend the following films:
Selma by director Ava DuVernay
Boycott by Clark Johnson
MLK/FBI, which details FBI surveillance of Dr. King.
Good Trouble, a documentary about John Lewis
King in the Wilderness, a documentary following Dr. King during the last few years of his life.
Eyes on the Prize: Hallowed Ground, a documentary on Black liberation
King: A Filmed Record … Montgomery to Memphis, a documentary using footage from 1955 to 1968 that was originally shown at a special event in 1970.
Please enjoy your day of reflection and action, and feel free to share any resources you find that honor Dr. King’s legacy with accuracy and action.