International Center Blog

Providing International Perspectives About Learning and Living at UM-Flint

Martin Luther King, Jr. is a prominent figure in the world of Civil Rights Movement and he successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. Every year, his birthday is observed on the third Monday of January. After some research on this American federal holiday, I found out that President Ronald Reagan initially signed this holiday into the law in 1983 but it was only officially observed in all 50 stated for the first time in 2000.

At UM-Flint, we commemorated the life and legacy of Martin Luther King with a day of service. Dr. James Chaffers was the speaker during the kick off breakfast event for the day. He was the Senior Design Juror for the creation of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington D.C. The take away that I got from his talk was to always have a dream and never stop pursuing that dream. He told the audience “You are the dreamers and difference makers. You’ve always been that way.”

After volunteering at Carriage Town Ministries in the afternoon, we headed back to campus for the closing ceremony. The keynote speaker for the closing ceremony was Nontombi Naomi Tutu. She encouraged the crowd to continue Dr King’s legacy; continue fighting for what we believe in and to stop injustice. Tutu was a phenomenal speaker. From the many points she brought up, one point that resonated well with me was, “Look for a family in the community you are in … because you need a vessel to vent … not just in the academic setting but in the surrounding community too because you deserve to be here.” Although the history of the Civil Rights Movement and MLK Day is something very new to me, volunteering and giving back to the community felt great because I have grown attached to Flint – my home away from home.