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Opinion | The life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Remembering his work now is as important as ever.

Martin Luther King Jr. at the March on Washington.

Each year, on the third Monday of January, we have the opportunity to pay tribute to the life and impact of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His legacy offers inspiration and motivation to carry us through the new, but often similar, trials of today. Through his unwavering values of love, service, and equality, Dr. King was able to spark meaningful change for all generations to come. As we begin 2023 and celebrate this holiday, I urge each of you to honor Dr. King by taking the time to truly reflect on his legacy, identify what impact you can personally make, and find ways to serve in your community.

Remembering his work now is as important as ever. Written in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in 1963, Dr. King wrote “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” These brief but impactful words remind us that upholding the values of equality extends farther than our own communities, but truly has the power to impact the fortitude of justice across the globe. As the Montgomery County Probate Judge, I strive to always bring this same commitment to equality in my personal and professional endeavors, and I challenge each of you to do the same.

Dr. King never wavered in fighting for America’s founding creed, “All men are created equal.” In all that we do, we’re called to love everyone as our neighbors, as our brothers and sisters, and as our equals. He bravely answered his calling to love and make a difference in the world, driven by the principle that change is not inevitable. In 1956, in his famous sermon entitled, “The Death of Evil Upon the Seashore,” Dr. King proclaimed, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability but comes through continuous struggle. And so, we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom.” 

With this in mind, I call each of you to do your part in making Dr. King’s dream a reality – not just today, but every day. This doesn’t have to be done through earth shattering movements or life-altering plans; you can make a difference in even the smallest of ways. Serve in your community and you’ll be strengthening your city, state, and country in the process. Wake up each morning with the mission to serve others. Whether that’s volunteering at a local food bank, donating to a charitable organization close to your heart, or even running for public office, there are countless ways that you can answer your own call to service.

“Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

JC Love is the probate judge in Montgomery County.

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