MLK Day – Why just one day a year?

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 8:59am

Posted in: Community Relations Council


Our seven-year-old came home from school on Friday and said, “Mommy, I am grateful for Martin Luther King, Jr.”  She went on to tell me that, “without him, I wouldn’t be able to be in the same class as my friends.”

I told her that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is one of my favorite holidays, too, because each year it reminds us of the importance of being inclusive and to use our voices to stand up for what is right.

We are constantly looking for ways to have meaningful conversations with our kids and this time, our daughter started a great one.  I decided to do some googling and found a ton of great ideas to further the conversation and to build on Dr. King’s great work at home.  Here are two ways that you, the Tidewater community, can bring the conversation into your home!

  • 2021 Join the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, Urban League of Hampton Roads, Inc., YWCA South Hampton Roads, the Tidewater Jewish Foundation, and the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater in encouraging 10th and 11th grade Jewish and African American students to participate in the relaunch of Operation Understanding Hampton Roads. This year-long program helps student participants build understanding, respect, and friendship through monthly workshops and a transformative summer Civil Rights trip. Participants develop their personal strengths, share one another’s cultures and religions, and enhance their leadership abilities. By the conclusion of OUHR, graduates assume the responsibility for taking inclusive actions that foster pluralism and equality.  Applications are due February 1 and can be found here, along with more details about the program.
  • 2022 Attend the Sunday, January 31 performance and discussion of The Hampton Years by Jacqueline E. Lawton at the Virginia Stage Company with your kids, grandkids, friends, or neighbors.  Many periods of history have brought African Americans and Jewish Americans together. The two communities share common bonds of often feeling like strangers in their homelands, and sadly, also feeling discriminated against and sometimes oppressed or even enslaved. Most people know about how the Jewish community worked hard to support the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, but few are aware of what happened just a few decades earlier.

    Following the play, join Jonathan Zur, president and CEO of the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities as he takes the conversation beyond the stage!  In partnership with the Community Relations Council and the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Congregation Beth El's HAZAK, and the Tidewater Jewish Foundation, you can buy tickets for the performance on Sunday, January 31 at 2 pm by clicking here.  To save 20% off the ticket price, please use the code SAVE20!

As we think about how far we've come since Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous speech in 1963, we know there's still so much more that we can do!  We all have different ways of sharing history and the ideas that we feel are important to pass on. 

How do you talk with your kids and grandkids about Martin Luther King, Jr.?  Please share your ideas with us in the comments below! 

Robin Mancoll
Director, Community Relations Council
United Jewish Federation of Tidewater

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