CLEVELAND — Monday marked a Martin Luther King Day unlike any other due to COVID-19. But still, places like the Karma House, the oldest African American theater in the country, and the United Church of Christ, found ways to virtually honor a man unlike any other, too.
As did families like the Ouermis.
“That's up to me to make sure that she gets fed that information and she celebrates it,” said mother Tricia Ouermi.
Ouermi said she was upset to see, Psalm, her 6-year-old daughter’s online schooling did not have anything about the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“In her homework, which she has a nice amount of, there wasn't one picture about Martin Luther King, not a puzzle, not one summary, not a bio. There wasn't anything there,” she said.
So, Ouermi did what most moms are doing in 2021, she took the lesson plan and made it her own.
“We don't need you to tell us when to celebrate it, how to celebrate. We're going to celebrate this man's birthday because he was great,” she said.
She and her daughter watched videos about MLK, colored in pictures of him, and in 6-year-old fashion, had a good, old fashioned birthday party for the icon.
“She wanted to wear her favorite dress and draw him, and she wanted him to have this blue suit,” said Ouermi. “I’m like, you know, what? You go, honey! Let's celebrate his birthday, baby,” she said.
Because although it has been 53 years since Dr. King’s death, his lessons mean just as much now, as they did back then-—to speak up for injustice, to be tolerant of our differences and to pursue the impossible.
Ouermi said it’s her dream for her daughter, to grow up in a world where his words are exemplified and not just said.
“The thing is, he's not fighting for politics, he’s not fighting for one race. He's fighting for civil rights, but the love and the beauty of all of us being able to live peacefully and be who we are in America,” she said.