By Gabriela Sandova

January 18th isn’t just an extra day off to catch up on homework. On the 18th we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and accomplishments. An important historical figure, Dr. King fought for equal rights and treatment amongst all races, before his unfortunate death. Freshman of South Gate High School, Francisco Garcia celebrates the day “by embracing the empowerment that Dr.King spoke about in his speeches.” Citizens across the nation commemorate Dr. King’s hopes and beliefs by celebrating in different ways.

   Reverend Bernice King, daughter of Dr. King, and Christine King Farris, his sister, were joined by others during the singing of “We Shall Overcome” at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. King preached. Boston also took the opportunity to call for racial justice during a rights march commemorating the holiday. Los Angeles was also part of the festivities, the Louisiana to Los Angeles Organizing Committee took part in the Martin Luther King Jr. peace and unity parade with celebratory performances, along with other organizations and clubs.

   The holiday also spawned protests, particularly from the group Black Lives Matter. The California Highway Patrol had to make several arrests on the 18th after protesters shut down the Bay Bridge in San Francisco during afternoon traffic. A similar situation happened in Minnesota where a traffic bridge was briefly shut down in memory of two black men shot by police in 2015. SGHS senior, Armando Vasquez, shares his opinion of the protests, “I think that doing it the day of continues his legacy for change.”

   Celebrities also took note of the holiday, most relayed their respects to King using social media outlets. Others took a more hands on approach, such as Chris Rock and Michael B. Jordan. The pair were at the Riverside Church in New York to perform historic speeches by Dr. King and discuss the ongoing struggle of minorities in the U.S. Lastly, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama took part in community service, organizing a garden bed, planting vegetable seeds, and reading at a local elementary in Washington D.C., spending the holiday with kids in the community.

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