One of the many factors that make Drexel University attractive to prospective students is its location. Philadelphia is a major metropolitan area filled with vibrant culture and a rich history. Whether you’re a shopaholic, community activist, hipster or history buff, Philadelphia has a neighborhood for you.
As a history lover, I was drawn to Philadelphia because of its key contributions to building the greatest democracy in the world. Benjamin Franklin came from Philadelphia; the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were both drafted here; and the Liberty Bell still stands on 6th Street as a symbol of our independence. Philadelphia is home to Independence Hall and the National Constitution Center. The first two presidents, George Washington and John Adams, even lived in Philadelphia when it was the capital.
I write from a place of frustration with the lack of passion that the academic community of Philadelphia has for democracy. Presidents Day is a significant national holiday and the fact that our community is not observing it is offensive. It boggles my mind that Drexel University, The University of Pennsylvania, University of the Arts, Temple University, Philadelphia University, Community College of Philadelphia and Saint Joseph’s University were all closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and yet none of these institutions are closed out of respect to the founding fathers of our great country.
Don’t get me wrong, civic engagement and community building activities on Martin Luther King Jr. Day are very important things; but if the blueprints for democracy were not created, Dr. King wouldn’t have been able to spread equality throughout our country. Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, etc. were all built into the frameworks of our country and deserve to be celebrated.
Presidents Day has been a federal holiday since 1885, while Martin Luther King Day has been a federal holiday since 1983. American students spend their childhood years learning about the history of the United States of America. As proud Philadelphians and citizens of the United States of America, I hope we can come back to our roots and celebrate what democracy means to us next year.
Max Kahn is a graphic design student at Drexel University. He can be contacted at [email protected]