Dr. King is my role model because of “the universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered his revolutionary spirit.”

Through his example, the values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service not only defined Dr. King’s character and empowered his leadership, but these values have encouraged me to follow his teachings, his work and his vision. He brought hope and healing to America and until his dream has come through for all Americans and people in the world, his legacy must be empowered and we must pick up from where he left.

Dr. King once said that we all have to decide whether we “will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. Life’s most persistent and nagging question, he said, is `what are you doing for others?’”

He would quote Mark 9:35, the scripture in which Jesus of Nazareth tells James and John “…whosoever will be great among you shall be your servant; and whosoever among you will be the first shall be the servant of all.”

And when Martin talked about the end of his mortal life in one of his last sermons, on February 4, 1968 in the pulpit of Ebenezer Baptist Church, even then he lifted up the value of service as the hallmark of a full life. “I’d like somebody to mention on that day Martin Luther King, Jr. tried to give his life serving others,” he said. “I want you to say on that day, that I did try in my life…to love and serve humanity.

Dr. King is my role model because his vision is now my vision: “A global vision of the world house, a world whose people and nations had triumphed over poverty, racism, war and violence.”

Dr King is America’s pre-eminent advocate of nonviolence — the man who taught by his example that nonviolent action is the most powerful, revolutionary force for social change available to oppressed people in their struggles for liberation. (1)

(1) From the King Center Organization.