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A Teachable Moment:Martin Luther King Day & Obama Inauguration Both Jan 21,2013

Once-in-a-Lifetime Event

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On Monday, January 21, 2013 Brooklyn and the nation will observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It's a federal holiday, and school children and others seeking meaning in such events recall the struggle for civil rights, and Dr. King's immense courage and dignity. Often, MLK Day is a moment to reflect both on how far the United States has come toward racial equality, and how much further there is to go to achieve equality across many divides, including but not limited to race.

And so it is of immense importance -- symbolic, historical, and in real time -- that the second term inauguration of the first black American president in history also falls on Martin Luther King Day in 2013.

Brooklyn Residents Travel to DC to Mark Inauguration Events on MLK Day

Doubtless some folks from Brooklyn will travel to Washington DC again this January to be present, to bear witness to, to celebrate President Obama's second inauguration. Pundits are projecting smaller crowds than his first inauguration. But this year, there's not only pride, but also a lot of policy issues waiting in the wings, from budget issues to gun control, that impact citizens of urban areas such as Brooklyn.

Historic Confluence: Inauguration of Black President on MLK Day

Whether you are traveling to Washington for this three-day weekend, or spending the time at home in Fort Greene, Park Slope or Bensonhurst, take a moment to relish and consider this historic confluence:

  • MLK Day: Every year the nation honors the legacy of one 20th century black man, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who, with the dignity of a saint and the politics of a radical, dedicated his life to achieving the most rudimentary levels of racial equality in American life -- such as desegregation. Complete Guide to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events in Brooklyn.
  • Obama's Inauguration: On the same day, Brooklyn along with the rest of the nation, will mark the re-assumption to the presidency of a mixed race black man, a 21st century figure who despite extraordinary odds won the highest office in the land not once but twice. Fittingly, the inaugural theme will be "Faith in America's Future," which will also mark the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the placement of the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol Dome in 1863. Get information about the 2013 Inauguration Events in Washington, DC. .

A Teachable Moment

If you have children, of whatever age or educational status, January 21, 2013 offers an extraordinary opportunity to talk in concrete terms about such often-abstract topics as fairness, equality, humanity, diversity, democracy, struggle, commitment and integrity.

10 Ways to Celebrate Martin Luther King Day 2013 with Kids

And, race. Brooklyn is famously multi-racial. As the demographics of the United States move toward a less-white, more racially diverse reality, there is an active dialogue about diversity and race happening in cafes and bookstores, school classrooms and colleges across the borough of Brooklyn.

The unusual moment of President Obama's second inauguration on Martin Luther Day will provide a great deal of fodder for discussion in local schools, colleges, churches and among Brooklynites during January, 2013.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2013: It's one for the history books.

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