“Day On” for Civil Rights: Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2022

A Message from Superintendent Greg Baker 

Dear staff, students and families,  

This Monday, the nation commemorates the civil rights leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; this year, the King family has requested that communities educate and activate for voting rights. 

Dr. Bernice King said she and her brother Martin Luther King III want to focus “…our nation’s attention to securing and protecting the most sacred right of our democracy, which is the right to vote.” She asks that on MLK day supporters will “speak and act in a way to ensure that this nation lives up to its promise of democracy…and instead of taking the King holiday off, they should make it a ‘day on’…” 

Some of the ways Bellingham Public Schools is honoring the King family’s request are: 

  • Shifting from celebratory MLK activities to lessons and actions focused on voting rights and the importance of local elections. Our lessons have already begun; this week, some students worked on projects to register future and eligible voters, while other students created posters to help peers learn about the history of voting rights. Learn more and explore educational resources at our blog post “A Day On | MLK Day 2022.” 
  • Providing clock hours for staff and community participation in the Jan. 13-17, 2022 Whatcom Human Rights Taskforce’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Conference. This year’s theme is “An Inescapable Network of Mutuality: Creative Extremism for the Cause of Justice.” Educators and others who would like to earn clock hours for attending the conference: register for course 7366 through ProDev. 
  • Partnering with our community on the Jan. 17 MLK Day virtual event, featuring an interview with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. The conversation will address voting rights across the nation and in Washington state, and some of the questions will be from BPS students. The recording will be available to those who register. Learn more and register at WWU’s webpage for the event “A Day on: Educate, Advocate and Activate.” Educators and others who would like to earn clock hours for attending the WWU event: register for course 7366 in ProDev. 
  • Supporting the additional call from the coordinating committee of the MLK Day commemoration event, established in 1991, to contact legislators about voting rights.  Find your legislator’s contact information at house.gov. 

This MLK day, I encourage all in our community to learn more about the history of voting rights and ways we can increase equitable voting access in all communities. This day aligns with our work toward The Bellingham Promise outcomes of graduates who are “well-rounded community members engaged with the outside world” and “honest and ethical individuals who act with integrity.”  

I wish all of you a great “day on” this Monday. 

Greg Baker