On Jan. 21, our country officially remembers Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a leader who changed the nation forever with his non-violent opposition to injustices done to African-Americans and—as is often forgotten—anyone who is poor. He put his life on the line for those principles and he paid the ultimate price at the hands of a hate-fueled assassin.
It is easy to see how far Dr. King and other Civil Rights leaders took us. Jan. 21 also will be the second-term inauguration of our nation’s first African-American president. But it is also easy to see how far we have to go to battle bigotry and poverty.
The message of Dr. King is not to sit back and enjoy what we have accomplished. The message of Dr. King is to work harder to make our nation—and first and foremost, ourselves—more just, more tolerant, more caring, more human. We honor him best by honoring our neighbors in those so simple, yet so difficult, ways.