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Preserving King's Message of Service, Peace, Social Equality

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Ohioans are remembering Martin Luther King Jr's message of service, peace and social equality. (Pixabay)
Ohioans are remembering Martin Luther King Jr's message of service, peace and social equality. (Pixabay)
 By Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH, Contact
January 16, 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio – It's been 49 years since Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, and his legacy continues to live on in Ohio.

Volunteer events, faith services, rallies and forums are among the ways people are remembering the late civil rights leader's messages of service, peace and social equality.

Monday, the Human Rights Campaign is hosting a volunteer event benefiting at-risk youth in Cincinnati.

Spokesman Steve Newsome says turning King's teachings into a day of action can help strengthen marginalized communities, which he believes is crucial ahead of President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration.

"A lot of people are either scared about what's going to happen or are uncertain about the future,” Newsome states. “And we want to not only create an element of service, but be seen in the community and reassure people that someone is looking out for their interest as we head into a new administration."

MLK service projects will be held around Ohio this week and include volunteer events at food banks, homeless shelters and other local service agencies.

Will Lucas, chair of the Ohio Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission, says service can spark citizen action, bridge barriers and move the country closer to King's vision of a community working together to solve social problems.

"Dr. King talked about whatever it is you can do,” Lucas points out. “He said if you can't fly, then run. If you can't run, then walk. If you can't walk, then crawl. But whatever you can do to stand against injustice, do what you can."

Nonviolence also is an important message from King, according to Jim Bolden, coordinator for public health programs for Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County.

The agency hosts an annual Violence Prevention Teen Celebration on MLK Day, which Bolden says teaches youth how to use nonviolent methods to resolve conflict.

"Because of culture and because of what these young people are seeing or hearing on TV about the way people are solving problems, they prefer to go the negative way and solve them because they don't want to look bad,” he states. “They don't want to look weak in the eyes of society."

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