May 1 was designated as Law Day by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958, and has been celebrated on this date each year since. This “holiday” of sorts was created to honor the role that law played in creating the great United States of America, and was first proposed in 1957 by the American Bar Association.
Law Day is defined by the American Bar Association as “A national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law. Law Day underscores how law and the legal process have contributed to the freedoms that all Americans share.” Essentially, Law Day is an opportunity for Americans to increase their knowledge and understanding of the justice system, and to strengthen liberty, equality, and justice under the law.
America is a beacon to other nations today because of our country’s promise of equality. The promise of equality for all people in America is also a pledge which was clearly set forth in the Declaration of Independence. In 1963, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called upon America to live up to the promise of equality during the Emancipation Proclamation’s centennial; this year marks its 150th anniversary.
This Wednesday, May 1st, provides an opportunity for every American citizen to reflect on what still needs to be accomplished in terms of eliminating discrimination and injustice, and further working toward ending the violation of human rights that still exist today.
In Michigan, the Law Day creative contest is in its second year, and is a program designed for contestants who want to participate by connecting one or more of Michigan’s Legal milestones to the 2013 theme, which this year is “Michigan – Realizing the Dream: Equality for All.” Created in 1986, Michigan Legal Milestones highlight what are considered the most important laws, cases, and individuals in the state of Michigan. Contestants compete for prizes by tying milestones to the theme with creative projects which include video and board games, podcasts, musical plays, essays, mock trials, brief documentaries, and more.
Ultimately, Law Day is an occasion on which all Americans can learn more about justice and equality for all, and celebrate the fact that ours is a great nation that truly believes what Rev. Dr. King once wrote in a letter: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.