A Dream that Continues Today

Martin Luther King, Jr.

In January, our nation recognizes the birthday of one of the most visible advocates of nonviolent direct action for social change, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Dr. King was born in Atlanta on Jan. 15, 1929, and we mark his birthday with a host of celebrations each year throughout the United States.  Dr. King’s birthday became a federal holiday on Nov. 2, 1983, when President Ronald Reagan signed a bill passed by Congress.

In 1994, in keeping with Dr. King’s legacy of advocacy and assistance for others, Congress designated the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday as a national day of service, making it the only federal holiday so observed.  The MLK Day of Service is a featured part of United We Serve, the President's national call-to-service initiative, asking Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to the nation's most pressing problems.  The national holiday celebration occurs on the third Monday in January.  On Oct. 16, 2011, a monument to Dr. King was dedicated in Washington, D.C., the first on the prestigious National Mall honoring a civilian.

In the spirit of Dr. King’s commitment to equality, state human rights agencies, such as the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR), were created.  Established in 1958, the MCHR’s goal is to foster mutual understanding and eliminate discrimination through education and outreach and the enforcement of the Missouri Human Rights Act.  The MCHR investigates complaints of discrimination in housing, employment, and places of public accommodations because of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, disability, age (in employment only), and familial status (in housing only). If you believe you have been discriminated against due one of these protected categories, contact the MCHR at 877-781-4236 or take this quick assessment to determine if the MHRA applies to your situation.

The theme of the MLK Day of Service is “A Day On, Not a Day Off” and is the perfect time for Americans to actively work toward solutions to social problems and move our nation closer to achieving the ideals of Dr. King.  MLK Day is a national celebration, but its emphasis is on local action, working close to home to create a better, more equitable and just society.  You can celebrate MLK Day by participating in any of these or many other inspiring events around our state:

Central Missouri Events

Eastern Missouri Events

Western Missouri Events

Northeast Missouri Event

Southwest Missouri Event

Southeast Missouri Event

National Resources

If you choose to celebrate, we encourage you to seek ways you can work in your community to help make America a place of freedom, opportunity, fairness, and justice, which are hallmarks of the American dream.  Enjoy the holiday, and do something positive in your community – remembering to support the MLK Day of Service as “A Day On, Not a Day Off.”