MLK Day is one of my all-time favorite Club events. Not only do we get to celebrate diversity and promote acceptance and awareness, but we also get to educate youngsters who might not understand the incredible impact of MLK on our world today.
Because our Club is open 7:30am-5:30pm and we tend to have fewer members, it is a great opportunity to cultivate relationships, educate on a more meaningful level, and provide a day full of fun. Each year, we begin our celebration with a Unity March. We give our older members the opportunity to attend the city-wide Unity March while our younger members participate in one at the Club. Staff spend time explaining what the significance of a Unity March is and members have the opportunity to ask questions. Each year, I am surprised at what our kiddos already know, think about, etc.
The day is full of love, remembrance, celebration, and education. Below you can find a list of amazing resources. One of my favorite activities, however, is the waste basket privilege exercise. You place a waste basket at the front of the room. Members stand in various lines. A line close to the waste basket, a line semi-close to the waste basket, and a line far away from the waste basket. Each member gets a piece of paper. They crumple it up. You explain that whoever gets their paper wad in the waste basket wins a prize. Discussions will most likely begin about how it is unfair that the members closest to the waste basket have an advantage. This begins a conversation about privileged and how sometimes you are just born with advantages/disadvantages based on a number of factors. Each time we have conducted this activity, the outcome is wonderful.
Another hit is a peaceful protest. Staff provide a bit of history about sit-ins, peaceful and non-peaceful protest, and the Civil Rights Movement. Members make their own signs and protest throughout the Club for things they believe in. This activity showcases basic rights, fairness, and members' creativtiy.
Aside from MLK themed activities, we also host an assembly. If you plan far enough in advance, you might be lucky enough to get your local NAACP to guest speak at your event. In the past we have had black fraternities, step teams, civil rights activists, and more attend our event and educate our members. Anytime you can provide members with opportunities to learn from people outside the Club, it can be incredibly beneficial.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or of you need help planning your event! This day is so important for us to celebrate and remember. We have a unique responsibility to teach our members and encourage acceptance, awareness, and education!