Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Holland in 1964. Photo by Hugo van Gelderen via Wikimedia Commons. 

In honor of MLK Day 2022, we asked several writers to share how Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy inspires the work they do or the way they live now. Read more essays in the series here, here and here.

Crosstown High’s Black Student Union Chapter was co-founded by Rachel and me in light of the Black Lives Matter protests and the brutal murder of George Floyd

I have learned so much being involved in creating a safe space for BIPOC people and I think that Rachel and I have both grown as people due to the experiences we have had at school. 

Dr. Martin Luther King has paved the way for Black bodies and I truly believe that it is our duty as humanity to fulfill his dreams. The idea of accepting multiculturalism has been ignored by so many people and institutions. It is time for a change. We are all human and we are all unique. We can come together as one to fight for equality and equity for all people. — Dallas King 

My great grandfather was a sanitation worker during the segregation era. He would often tell my grandmother what it was like traveling to the white neighborhoods to collect trash and how it felt like he was a moving target. 

On February 12, 1968, when the Memphis sanitation strike — often labeled the I AM A Man march due to the signs used — began, he was conflicted about what to do. He had very limited job opportunities and did not like the possibility of losing his job. But he wanted to support the movement. 

This is a conflict that a lot of Black Americans face today. My great-grandfather told my grandmother to “always do what’s right.” For him, that was going to work and being a part of the march. The world is not always black and white. Sometimes you have to make your gray. — Rachel Carroll 

Dallas King and Rachel Carroll are seniors at Crosstown High School

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