Depending on where you are, this day may have a different name and you might learn a new thing or two.
1. In the US, today is the day where we commemorate the birth of the civil rights icon, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It’s important to note that the 3rd Monday in January is a commemoration of Dr. King’s day of birth – January 15th (a common misconception is that this date commemorates the day of his death!)
Here are two good starting points, on the origin of the holiday, and the stellar organizing of Black activists for over a decade to make it happen:
(*Bonus: Read his work! Beyond his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, read these works and read them in context; individual quotes are often (mis)used to illustrate a skewed re-telling of the history of the civil rights movement)
2. In the Canadian context, we also commemorate a Black man, who served as the first Black Member of Parliament for 12 years, and then built his legacy as the first Black Lieutenant Governor in Ontario, later serving as Chancellor at the University of Guelph, and Chair of the Ontario Heritage Trust.
This day IS intended to be a commemoration on the 21st of January, as it was Lincoln Alexander’s birthday, though this is not a statutory holiday.
You can learn more about him, from this article that covered his provincial state funeral in 2012: https://globalnews.ca/…/first-black-mp-lincoln-alexander-r…/
3. Today – another ‘event’ that falls on the third Monday of January – is BLUE MONDAY.
Dr. Cliff Arnall initially created a formula measuring this date (***for a travel firm***) as the sum of multiple factors including “weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action“.
Later, other researchers built upon this theory – as well as attempting to myth-bust it – in an attempt to separate this “concept” from diagnoses of clinical depression. Dr. Arnall has since said he doesn’t take this idea of Blue Monday very seriously, but that’s not even the most important bit. The idea of Blue Monday has gotten people talking about depression in the post-holiday season, and THAT IS SO IMPORTANT!
In places where it is cold, you should remember to contact your municipality to help protect folks access warm shelters/community spaces and check in on friends and family. Also, consider that the year has just started so you have 11 months to take care of that resolution. Not going to the gym in January doesn’t make you a failure for 2019.
Ending this week with a quote from Dr. King not as frequently cited today, which you can read more about at The King Legacy (or elsewhere on the Internet): “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” (http://www.thekinglegacy.org/books/trumpet-conscience)
Hope you learned at least one new thing today!