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“He used humility as a strength and not a weakness:” Dubuque community leaders reflect on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy in the Black Lives Matter era

Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 10:59 PM CST
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, message has resonated hope with many people, like Caprice Jones and Miquel Jackson, leaders with the Fountain of Youth and the Dubuque NAACP.

For Jones, Dr. King’s legacy is one of achieving change through peace.

“A lot of people say that Martin Luther King, Jr. was passive, but actually, he was assertive and his militancy form of assertiveness was not to do what somebody else was doing to him, and that right there alone was powerful,” Jones said. “He used humility as a strength and not a weakness.”

But Jackson said that is a mark some are missing as calls for justice continue.

“The impact that I believe is undeniable is that there will be no peace until there is justice,” Jackson said. “The subjectivity has led those who hear this statement to believe that if one side does not receive justice then we will tear this whole country down through violence, which causes a lack of peace.”

Jackson said peace and justice need to go hand in hand.

“Some people interpret peace as us holding hands, sitting in a circle, singing kumbaya, but my definition of peace is that I believe peace is an essential idea when you get down to it because I should be able to feel safe and secure in the many different realms throughout this country that I walk in,” Jackson said. “I should feel at peace knowing I am afforded the same opportunities, but I am also treated fairly as well.”

Jones added that King’s message of peace and justice means nothing without taking action.

“It entails sacrifice, it entails ‘love thy neighbors as you love thyself’, I think it entails a real intricate moment of really embracing humanity as opposed to just talking about it,” Jones said, in regards to King’s legacy.

Jackson concurred. For him, observing Martin Luther King, Jr. Day should not be enough.

“I hear a lot of people say, ‘Oh, I got off of work today for observing, because we are observing the holiday,’ and does that mean what some Americans do on a general basis is observe rather than actually act?” Jackson said. “We take a day off of school to “observe” MLK day and I believe that is the prime opportunity for us to have an actual day of school, but instead of centering it around a normal curriculum, focus on these issues, equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives.”

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