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MLK Day in Iowa: What Are You Doing for Others?

Iowa has been celebrating MLK Day since 1989. (U.S. Library of Congress)
Iowa has been celebrating MLK Day since 1989. (U.S. Library of Congress)
January 15, 2018

DES MOINES, Iowa – This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr., and his life and legacy will be honored Monday around Iowa.

At a celebration in Des Moines, Gov. Kim Reynolds will read a proclamation designating Monday as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and several people and groups will be recognized for continuing the work of the slain civil rights leader.

Kim Cheeks, program planner for the Iowa Department of Human Rights' Office on the Status of African-Americans, says the annual observance calls on Iowans to reflect on what they are doing for others.

"Are you giving back?” she asks. “Are you loving others? Are you helping someone who might not be able to help themselves?

“The intent is to unify your fellow neighbors and to seek tolerance and brotherhood and sisterhood.”

The MLK Day holiday celebrating’s King’s birthday is a day of service, and other events across the state include volunteer projects, prayer breakfasts, marches, church services, lectures and public readings of King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

Cheeks says King taught through his examples, and the holiday celebrates his values of courage, trust, compassion, dignity and humility.

"We also honor his life contributions of being a champion of racial justice and equality, and we commemorate his dream of being a multi-racial nation united in justice, peace and reconciliation," she states.

King was killed April 4, 1968. A federal holiday honoring him was declared in 1983.

Iowa has been celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day since 1989.


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IA