Idaho Human Rights Day

This state holiday of Idaho commemorates diversity and human rights, also celebrating the life and efforts of Martin Luther King Jr. Every year, Idaho’s governor calls upon citizens to use this day to reflect upon diversity. Many schools and offices close. Along with listening to Dr. King’s speeches, other traditions include:

  • Tributes
  • Parades
  • Candlelight services
  • Speeches
  • Special television or radio programs
  • Art exhibits
  • Rallies
  • Poetry readings

History

Before the Enlightenment, the idea of fundamental rights was nonexistent, coming forth as a philosophy within the idea of natural law by philosophers like John Locke, growing stronger during the American Revolution. The concept of human rights was elevated after WWII with events such as the Holocaust, followed by the Civil Rights movement. Human rights are seen as rights that should be guaranteed to every individual, regardless of race, gender, or other traits.

Like many U.S. states, Idaho struggled with issues of racism and oppression, with a history of active groups such as the KKK. This holiday was established on January 16, 2006 in order to offer support to Martin Luther King Jr. Day and augment the issue of human rights.

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