Broward College Celebrates MLK & Black History Month
Megan Vineberg – Editor-in-Chief
Falling on Feb. 1 and continuing until March 1, Broward College has dove into the celebration of both Black History Month and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. As mentioned in a prior press release, Broward College has a long standing commitment to equity, social justice and inclusion.
Adjustments were made to the event due to the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing for a virtual event to be held on Jan. 14. Historically, the holiday always fell on the third Monday in January. This year, the actual day that honors King takes place on Jan. 17.
Guest speakers presented the history of how Martin Luther King Jr. Day became a holiday in 1986, thanks to President Ronald Reagan, and how societally we can be more mindful and respectful of others.
Martin Luther King Day was the first holiday to truly recognize and honor an African American’s achievements on a federal level. To accompany the holiday, a National Day of Service was brought about in 1994 by former Pennsylvania Senator Harris Wolford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis. It was signed by then-President Bill Clinton.
Jacksonville News reports that, in celebration of King’s life and message of equality, opportunity and service to others, community members will be joining parades, breakfasts, events and more.
A Nobel Peace Prize winner, Martin Luther King Jr. was born January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia to Martin Luther King Sr., a Baptist minister and Alberta Williams. King passed away in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968.
In life, he went as far as receiving his doctorate degree in theology. As reported by history.com, King helped organize the first civil rights movement known as the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955. A powerful communicator, King appealed to the masses, even those with vastly different ideals about how, as a people, we should conduct ourselves in society.
He even won favor of government officials and Northern Whites. King’s speeches gathered a crowd, his “I Have A Dream” with over 250,000 in attendance outside the Lincoln Memorial.
Guest speaker Dr. Valerie Patterson, Director of the FIU African American Diaspora Studies Program, explains, “It starts with us [as a community]. We must shift priorities to create community.”
To have the power to influence others and to use it for good doing is what he stood for. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 then abolished poll tax, and prohibited racial discrimination. In the words of King himself, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only light can do that.”
It is an unfortunate setback that, for the time being, no formal grants for the MLK Day of Service at Broward College will be awarded this year due to budget cuts at Broward College. For 2020, Broward College awarded 29 community groups with the Broward College MLK Day of Service Award to help nonprofits and community organizations create impactful service projects in the community. In 2021, the MLK Day of Service awarded $120,000 to 29 community organizations to fund initiatives ranging from beautification to education projects that support veterans and low-income populations, made possible through the Florida Legislature and MLK Day of Service Advisory Board.
Wolford, who co-authored the original documentation for the National Day of Service, led 150 service projects with thousands of corporate sponsors, community leaders, and students throughout the region all participating to honor King’s legacy. Wolford, who co-authored the original documentation for the National Day of Service, led 150 service projects with thousands of corporate sponsors, community leaders, and students throughout the region all participating to honor King’s legacy.