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King’s lesson applies to all races today

One day after the nation paused to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it’s easy for white people to simply dismiss the holiday as one that is only important for Americans with black skin.

Doing so would prove the lack of understanding of what Dr. King’s civil rights mission encompassed.

For those who have read Dr. King’s writings, such a belittling assumption that his work was only focused on blacks would be unconscionable.

It would be akin to dismissing Christmas as merely the birthday of a Middle Eastern baby from 2,000 years ago, or perhaps dismissing the Fourth of July as a holiday to cook hotdogs and explode fireworks.

Sure the initial focus of King’s mission was one of securing full civil rights for black Americans. He was cut down by an assassin’s bullet before he could ever see significant progress on that dream.

But we have to think that had King lived, his mission would have continued to move and change. We see the roots of the man’s soul in now-famous lines of prose he penned.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” he wrote in “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” in 1963.

Despite great strides in equality in the United States, great injustice still exists in America and the world.

To truly carry on King’s legacy, our focus on his lessons should be less about skin color and more about an underlying tenet of King’s heart, found in the Holy Bible: Love thy neighbor as thyself.