“The time is always right to do what it is right," Martin Luther King Jr.
As a child of the 1980s, Martin Luther King Jr. has always been part of my vocabulary. Not in real time, as he was for many civil rights activists of the 1960s, but as a historically important person. His legacy feels bigger to me now that I am a parent in the 2000s.
A few years ago, President Obama spoke at N.C. State and I was lucky to be there, standing with the mother of a childhood friend. She experienced segregation and lived through the fight for civil rights, but that day she had just shaken hands with the president. The White House is a lifetime away from separate water fountains, but we still have work to do.
Part of my commitment to that work is making sure my kids recognize Dr. King as more than a day off from school. We talk about civil rights in my house a lot — and it is often not a fun conversation.
But we all love going to the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday party celebration organized by MomsRising at Northgate Mall! It’s a fun and meaningful way to start a conversation with your kids about how far we’ve come and how they can be a part of continuing the important unfinished work of the civil rights movement.
Join us for free English and Spanish story times, an African fashion show and showcase, kids’ Zumba, interactive activities, crafts, performances, service projects and birthday cake as we celebrate Dr. King’s life and legacy in a way that kids can understand. State Sen. Floyd B. McKissick, Jr. will join us to share what it was like growing up as a child at the heart of Durham’s civil rights movement and how children and families can be involved today.
In support of Dr. King’s commitment to service, party goers can bring donations of nonperishable food (especially peanut butter, canned meat, cereal and corn), gently used children’s winter clothing and coats, or new underwear and socks for local families in need, who are served by Urban Ministries of Durham.
When: 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday, Jan. 18 (There will be singing and cake!)
Where: Northgate Mall’s Center Court. 1058 West Club Blvd., Durham. The best entrances are 4, 2, and 10 located on the theater wing of the mall.
Sponsors: This event is sponsored by MomsRising.org, Northgate Mall, Lango Kids RTP, Durham Community Martin Luther King, Jr. Steering Committee, Mama Afrika, Action NC, Durham Mothers Club, Durham Chapter of Mocha Moms Inc., Chapel Hill/ Carrboro Mothers Club, Kidpower NC, Durham County Library, AB Fitness, Men of Honor, Kids Voting Durham, El Centro Hispano, Moore Muzik, El Pueblo, Si A Las Licencias NC, SoDu Parents Posse.
Volunteers are needed. Please let us know if you can help or if you have questions by contacting Beth@momsrising.org.
Stephanie is an author, a Raleigh mother of two, and a member of MomsRising.org.