MLK Day celebrations look different in virtual world

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Gathered around the television, the Brundidge family is doing something different to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this year.

"We’re going to listen to some speeches and we’re going to have some talks and we’re going to do some coloring for the kids who can’t talk so that they can express themselves," said mom and activist Sheletta Brundidge.

What would normally be a huge MLK Day gathering with singing, service and reflection is virtual in 2021.

But the powerful dream remains.

"This is the time, since everything is virtual, that we can take a look at ourselves and ask how are we making sure that the dream does not die with Dr. King," Brundidge said.

King Day service calls for nonviolence amid turbulent times

Keith Mayes is an Associate Professor of African American and African studies at the University of Minnesota.

He says the last eight months have been very teachable moments.

"I would say the George Floyd murder and all of the ensuing protest, and cause for justice in action and change in policy has gained new adherence to the cause of MLK in social justice, for sure," Mayes said.

He says King’s writings could be even more beneficial if recognized on more than just his birthday.

"I think what we need to do is read King more than one day, listen to the calls for justice and the calls to action and try to see if you can actually agree with what it means to be an American," he said.

For the Brundidge family, togetherness is empowering and offering new insight into honoring this civil rights leader.

"What are we doing to illuminate racism, how are we making our voices heard, we can no longer sit on the sidelines and wait for another Dr. King to come along, there’s a Dr. King in all of us," Brundidge said.