Honoring Reverend King's legacy Print
Thursday, Apr. 05, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

It doesn’t seem possible that it’s been 50 years since the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

It was on April 4, 1968, that James Earl Ray killed the civil rights leader as he stood on the balcony of his hotel room in Memphis, Tenn. Reverend King, a Baptist minister, was only 39 years old.

It seems as if we have made progress in many areas of our society since his death, but we still have a long way to go in ensuring an end to racism in our country.

In reflecting on the 50th anniversary of the assassination, the United States Catholic bishops said, “We need to ask ourselves if we are doing all we can to build the culture of love, respect, and peace to which the Gospel calls us.”

This anniversary, the bishops said, “gives us an important moment to draw inspiration from the way in which Dr. King remained undeterred in his principle of nonviolence resistance, even in the face of ridicule, threats, and violence for the cause of justice.”

Reverend King went to Memphis to support underpaid African-American sanitation workers. Today, we still have many people of color who are paid lower wages and are forced to live in poverty. There is a higher rate of arrest and incarceration of black people.

The best way to honor Reverend King’s legacy is, as the Catholic bishops suggest, “by boldly asking God — today and always — to deepen our own commitment to follow his will wherever it leads in the cause of promoting justice.”

We can make sure that we treat all people fairly, no matter their race, remembering that Christ died on the cross for love of the entire human race.