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Michiana honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Widely known as the leader of the Civil Rights movement or the man who helped fight inequality, there’s no doubt Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. left a legacy.

More than half a century after his death, people across the country and in Michiana continue to celebrate it on the third Monday of January each year.

Raven Lopez-Bell of South Bend said the day dedicated to the life and activism of Dr. King is an important one.

“Back when my grandparents were growing up, the relationship that I have now wouldn’t have been able to happen,” said Lopez-Bell. “I think Martin Luther King Day is a celebration of kind of the diversity of America and appreciating the differences that we have.”

South Bend resident, Levinus Clemons, agreed.

“It’s a day of celebration like I said, for unity, people recognizing what he was about and to try to symbolize that in their life”

While many events across Michiana will celebrate Dr. King’s legacy, some people say it’s also a reminder that the battle for equality is far from over.  

“It’s kind of a mixed blessing given that it was 51 years ago since his death that people are still struggling,” said Theodore Randall. Randall is an associate professor of anthropology at Indiana University South Bend. He is also the program coordinator for the African American studies program.

Randall points to data that shows inequalities among African American and other people of color.

“Blacks only make between 60 and 70 percent of what the typical white household make,” said Randall.  “Martin Luther King preached equality.

Randall believes people today can use King’s legacy as a framework for change that creates policies that tackle ideas like income equality and affordable education.

“There’s going to have to be policy, significant policy changes to bring some parity,” said Randall. “This country has so much potential because of its diversity.”

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