There is no denying that there is political chaos in our country which has led the government to a standstill. President Trump has created a controversial situation that cannot be so easily resolved. According to The Guardian, the partial US government shutdown took effect after Senate failed to pass a budget that included the US$5 billion President Trump demanded for the wall. Unfortunately, it seems that the shutdown has yet to end and will extend past Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is something we cannot forget to celebrate, especially during this time of turmoil. The holiday commemorates the life and work of Dr King who was a strong advocate of nonviolence and exercised civil disobedience in order to battle racial inequality and segregation in the United States during the Civil Rights Movement. His most famous speech, “I Have A Dream,” made history as he not only called for an end to racism but defined the new American Dream.

People often celebrate this day by visiting historical sites associated with King like his birth home or his National Historical Park in Atlanta. They also celebrate by doing acts of charity and promoting and commemorating his ideals.

With the government shutdown looming over the nation, it will most definitely affect the holiday. According to Independent News, civil servants are usually given the day off, but given the current shutdown, many federal workers are going unpaid. So if the closure continues, many will also go without pay on MLK day. Some of King’s historic sites would reportedly be closed off, directly affecting the people who would want to celebrate.

However, instead of letting the shutdown affect MLK Day, we must do the opposite and instead let MLK Day affect the shutdown. Let King’s words and beliefs solidify the nation to do good, help others, and believe not in walls or borders, but in the power of nonviolence. We cannot let the shutdown disrespect such an important legacy and once again stomp on those who struggled to change the country for good.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. – Martin Luther King Jr.

The recent strike of teachers in the L.A Unified School District is an incredible testimony to the rights of citizens and the power of nonviolence Dr King wanted us to practice. Teachers from one of the biggest school districts have gathered in the rain since Monday, Jan. 14 to protest for staffing, class size, and pay. 

So despite the chaos, despite the controversies and the violence, and despite the helplessness we all feel, we still have the power to stand up to the government, make our voices heard, and most importantly, to do good and for others.  

Featured Image Via Evening Standard

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