Following the news since 1972

The North Star

Following the news since 1972

The North Star

Following the news since 1972

The North Star

Celebrate MLK Day with a day of service


Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated on the third Monday of January every year, which usually falls on King’s birthday, Jan. 15. The holiday, established in 1983 by former President Ronald Reagan, celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. King, who helped advance rights for African Americans in the U.S. 

But often, this holiday isn’t taken as seriously as holidays such as New Year’s Day or Memorial Day. Students at North probably view this Monday as a day off from school instead of a day of remembrance for an influential figure in the civil rights movement.

MLK Jr. Day is one of the only U.S holidays designated as a national day of service, for example volunteering or helping your community further. There are many different ways to celebrate MLK Jr. Day, even in ways that might seem insignificant. To properly honor King’s legacy, students should find a way to serve their community. 

Donate or volunteer: You can donate food or clothes to pantries/shelters. Volunteering at a local homeless shelter is also a great way to honor Dr. King. Some local shelters in Oshkosh include the Day by Day Shelter and Father Carr’s Place. One of Dr. King’s lasting messages was that if people support others, we can all make a better world for ourselves. 

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Get involved in your community. This could mean protesting, or simply standing up for what you believe in. Joining a local organization that advocates for civil rights and social justice is a great way to celebrate MLK day, and honor MLK himself.

Interpret Coretta Scott King’s beliefs on MLK Jr. Day. 

The holiday must be substantive as well as symbolic. It must be more than a day of celebration . . . Let this holiday be a day of reflection, a day of teaching nonviolent philosophy and strategy, a day of getting involved in nonviolent action for social and economic progress.”

Read about Martin Luther King Jr.; don’t just share quotes you see online. Reading them without full context leads to misinterpretation. For example, when discussing affirmative action, those against it often twist MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech, saying “[Judge not] by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Using his words in this context erases the entire meaning of his speech, which had nothing to do with “colorblindness”, but with ending racism and hopes for a better future for African Americans in the U.S.

This Martin Luther King Jr. Day, remember the lasting legacy of Dr. King and his influence on American society and history. Because it’s not just a day off from school or work, it’s a day honoring a man who fought for civil rights until his death.

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Dominic Centner
Dominic Centner, Chief Editor
Chief Editor Junior '25

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