Monday is not just a day schools are closed or a day some adults get time off work.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the third Monday in January each year, has been a U.S. federal holiday since 1984 and a day intended to promote “community service, interracial cooperation and youth anti-violence initiatives” nationwide, according to federal legislation passed in 1994.
In Roswell, the day will include the eighth annual Eracism Rally sponsored by the Church on the Move. It will occur from noon to 3 p.m. at Pioneer Plaza.
The event typically includes speeches by Church on the Move leaders, city elected officials, local educators and the heads of local law enforcement and public safety agencies, as well as prayers and music.
Born in 1929 and assassinated in 1968, King was the son of a Baptist preacher who earned a doctorate in theology and became a Christian minister. In 1955, he organized the first major protest of the civil rights movement, the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He became known for his commitment to non-violent methods to prompt social change for the poor, minorities and international victims of violence, and was known as a powerful community organizer and a gifted writer and orator. His efforts helped lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned segregation in public places and prohibited employment discrimination, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed racial barriers to voting. He was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
“Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood,” King wrote in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. “If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”