Is It High Time That Wyoming Call Martin Luther King Jr Day For What It Is? [OPINION]
Many across America marched in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Even here in Cheyenne, men and women, boys and girls marched down Capital Ave.
Thanks to President Ronald Regan, who signed Martin Luther King Jr Day into law in 1983, all 50 states recognize this day as a national holiday across America.
Many states were slow to incorporate the new law, to include the state of Wyoming. After ten long years, four-time representative and two-term senator Harriet Elizabeth (Liz) Byrd, was finally able to get the Wyoming State Legislature to pass a bill that would allow for a paid holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
However, the decision did not come without compromise. Instead of the state legislature calling the day for what it is, Martin Luther King Jr Day, they insisted that it be hyphenated or else they would not pass it.
Instead, they called it 'Equality Day.' As gracious as Liz Byrd was, she was just happy that the state would recognize this special day and that is all that mattered to her.
The problem I have with calling it 'Equality Day' is that you can putting anything in that bag that you want to. When you go to your children in Wyoming and tell them they get to be out of school because it's 'Equality Day', it seems to be meaningless.
But if you were to tell them that they are out of school because it's Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it begins to bring about questions and thus, a conversation in the home can begin as we educate our children about who the man was and why he was so important in American history.
In Martin Luther King's speech, the message was very clear. "I have a dream...that one day my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
The message was about abolishing racial prejudices from times past, that it might pave the way of opportunity for the future for all mankind.
I believe it is high-time to remove the 'compromise' and acknowledge the day set aside in Wyoming, to honor a man who spoke loudly with his peaceful marches, to see racism abrogated across this nation, and who paid the ultimate price.
So instead of 'Equality Day' in Wyoming, let's change that to what it really is, "Martin Luther King Jr Day" and put it to rest once and for all.