MLK Jr. Day

What is Martin Luther King Jr. Day?

It is an American holiday to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

King was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Who was Martin Luther King Jr.?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States in 1929. At that time in America, black people didn’t have the same rights as white people. Black people had to sit in the back of buses. The schools were separated by skin color and there were even separate public restrooms for black people and white people. This was called segregation. Black people’s lives were not very good.

Martin Luther King Jr. Leads March for Civil Rights

Martin Luther King Jr. was a minister in the Baptist Church. He fought against racial segregation. He wanted equal rights for all people, but he didn’t use violence in his fight. He asked people to fight peacefully. For example, he asked black people to ride in the front of the bus. More than 200,000 people went to Washington D.C. to listen to him speak and ask the government to change unfair laws.


Photo of Dr. King

Because of Martin Luther King Jr., many laws began to change in the United States. But many white people disagreed with him and his ways. In 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated(1) by a white man.

Dr. King was assassinated in 1968. Just 15 years later, in 1983, then President Ronald Reagan signed this holiday into U.S. law. People first observed(2) the holiday three years later, in 1986. At first, the holiday was not popular with all American states. Some didn’t like the name and so they called it “Civil Rights Day”. However, in the year 2000, all 50 states observed the holiday using its correct name. The musician, Stevie Wonder helped the campaign(3) for the holiday. He released(4) a famous song called “Happy Birthday” in 1980. The song made millions of Americans aware of the campaign. Six million people signed a petition(5) for the American Congress to create the holiday. It is still the largest petition in U.S. history in favor of an issue.

Check out Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday song here!

Many African-Americans also sing this song during birthday celebrations!

Resources:

Martin Luther King, Jr. (5minuteenglish.com)

ESL Holiday Lessons: English Lesson on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Vocabulary:

(1)  To assassinate – verb – to kill someone important or famous

(2)  To observe – verb-  to obey a law, rule, or custom

(3) Campaignnoun- a plan with of a number of activities directed toward reaching a goal 

(4) To releaseverb– to make a product available for the public to buy, often with a celebration;

(5) Petition noun– a document signed by a large number of people demanding or asking for some action from the government

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Juneteenth

Juneteenth, always African-American, now American!

Juneteenth is a newly recognized American holiday, but has always been recognized by African-Americans. It celebrates African-Americans finally being freed from slavery.

Although, July 4th is officially America’s independence day, Juneteenth has been independence day for African-Americans for centuries.

The history is not complicated. In the year 1619, Africans were brought to The United States as slaves. Many different tribes, ethnic groups, and people were stolen from Africa and brought to America. It was a sad and horrible time for Black people in the Americas.

“In the year 1863, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued1 the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared more than three million slaves living in the Confederate states to be free. More than two years passed before the news reached African Americans living in Texas. It was not until Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, that the people finally learned that slavery had been abolished. The newly freed slaves immediately began to celebrate with prayer, a feast, song, and dance.”

On June 15th 2021, Juneteenth finally became a national holiday, not only for African-Americans, but for all Americans, to celebrate the freedom of every American.

issued1– To give or deal out; distribute.

References: Juneteenth | History, Meaning, Flag, Importance, & Facts | Britannica

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopedia. “Juneteenth”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 19 Apr. 2022, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Juneteenth. Accessed 14 June 2022.

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Happy Juneteenth!

Juneteenth is this Saturday, June 19! To learn more about this holiday, view the video above. And as of the writing of this post Congress is on it’s way to making it an official federal holiday. Read more below…

From CNN.com

The Senate unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a US holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.The legislation has gained momentum since the massive Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd last year and the Democrats’ takeover of the White House and Congress.

The measure needs to pass the House and be signed by President Joe Biden to become law. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer tweeted that the chamber would vote Wednesday.

To read more, click here!

Click here to read about Juneteenth in Chinese (中文).

Click here to read about Juneteenth in Spanish (español).

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Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day is today! Above you can watch a brief video about the history and importance of Earth Day, while below you can read some helpful tips that will help you to live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle:

22 Things You Can Do to Help Save the Earth

Adapted from the Columbia Climate School:

1. Eat mostly fruits, veggies, grains, and beans. Meat and dairy is responsible for 14.5 percent of manmade global greenhouse gas emissions.

2. Choose organic and local foods that are in season. Transporting food from far away, whether by truck, ship, rail or plane, uses more fossil fuels.

3. Buy food in bulk when possible using your own reusable container.

4. Recycle. Click here to see a list of what you can recycle in NYC.

5. Compost your food waste. If you live in New York City, you can find a compost drop-off site here.

6. Don’t buy fast fashion. Instead, buy quality clothing that will last. Even better, buy vintage or recycled clothing at consignment shops.

7. Wash your clothing in cold water. Doing two loads of laundry weekly in cold water instead of hot or warm water can save up to 500 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.

8. Buy less stuff! Buy used or recycled items whenever possible and avoid buying items with a lot of packaging.

9. Bring your own reusable bag when you shop.

10. Buy a laptop instead of a desktop. Laptops require less energy to charge and operate than desktops.

11. If shopping for appliances, lighting, office equipment or electronics, look for Energy Star products, which are certified to be more energy efficient.

12. Support and buy from companies that are environmentally responsible and sustainable.

13. Do an energy audit of your home. This will show how you use or waste energy and help identify ways to be more energy efficient.

14. Buy LED lights. Though LEDs cost more, they use a quarter of the energy and last up to 25 times longer.

15. Turn lights off when you leave the room and unplug your electronic devices when they are not in use.

16. Turn your water heater down to 120˚F. This can save about 550 pounds of CO2 a year.

17. Take shorter showers and install a low-flow showerhead.

18. Use less air conditioning in the summer; instead opt for fans, which require less electricity.

19. Sign up to get your electricity from clean energy through your local utility or a certified renewable energy provider.

20. Drive less. Walk, take public transportation, carpool, rideshare or bike to your destination when possible.

21. Avoid flying if possible; on shorter trips, driving may produce fewer greenhouse gases.

22. Vote! Become politically active and let your representatives know you want them to take action about global warming and the environment.

Click here to read more!

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Happy Lunar New Year!

From the Oprah Magazine:

The Lunar New Year, most commonly associated with the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, typically falls sometime between January 21 and February 20 annually. Lunar New Year 2021 is on February 12, and in terms of the Chinese zodiac animal, it’s the Year of the Ox.

The Lunar New Year isn’t only observed in China, it’s celebrated across several countries and other territories in Asia, including South Korea and Singapore. In Vietnam, Lunar New Year is known as Tết, and in Tibet it’s Losar. In the U.S., though, it’s most commonly associated with what’s often called Chinese New Year, the American version of China’s 15-day-long festivities.

Click here to read more!

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