On Nov. 2, 1983, former President Ronald Reagan signed a bill making the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. a national holiday. 

To this day, schools and businesses around the country close to honor King and his efforts that changed the social landscape of the United States forever. 

The holiday is different from others because there isn’t a defined way to celebrate it. However, individuals and communities find their own ways to celebrate the holiday.

Whether it’s spending the day researching King and his legacy, volunteering in a citizen action group or simply watching the “Our Friend Martin” cartoon, there are many ways to celebrate.

Black Student Association (BSA) President Da’Prielle Fuller said she has fond memories of watching the cartoon as a child. 

However, this year Fuller plans to participate in the MLK community breakfast and the Unity March — something she encourages other students to participate in. 

“I would just like people to not use it as a day to sleep in,” Fuller said. “Go to the events that the Multicultural Center is hosting and learn more about the man that made it possible for a lot of us to even attend school together.”

“When we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr., we are honoring a man who made it a priority to fight for everyone to be treated equal and have the same opportunities … and although we have came far, there is a long way to go.” 

King’s activism had an impact on advancing the Civil Rights movement for African Americans, although he wasn’t just fighting for equality for African Americans. 

Latinx Student Union President Ashley Caceres said King’s work took strides for people from all walks of life, including the Latino community. 

From kindergarten through high school, students are taught about some of the key moments in King’s life, like his “I Have a Dream" speech. However, Caceres said a lot is left out. 

“I think MLK day is a reminder to make sure you read up on what he actually did,” Caceres said. “It’s important to read on what actually happened, because what we were fed in history books in school is very diluted.”

Contact Henry Davis, II with comments at hldavis5@bsu.edu.