LOS ANGELES - You may best remember Martin Luther King Jr. for his inspiring I Have a Dream speech, but that’s just one of many remarkable contributions he made to our country’s history.
In addition to his fight for civil rights, for which he was jailed and wiretapped by the FBI, Dr. King was particularly interested in the issue of economic injustice, a reality that affects people of all races and backgrounds
According to Dr. Wornie Reed, the director of the Race and Social Policy Center at Virginia Tech who marched alongside King in the 1960s, Dr. King was in the midst of a lesser known project when he was assassinated, “The Poor People’s Campaign.”
Dr. King had been traveling the country and urging anyone who cared to join him in a massive movement. He intended to put unprecedented pressure on the government to come forth with a concrete plan to reduce poverty in America.
Sadly, due at least in part to his untimely death, the campaign never fully materialized, and the country moved on. Today, the United States, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, has a significantly higher national child poverty rate than any other high-income country.
So now, when we celebrate Martin Luther King’s vision for America, we can also find inspiration in another dream of his, one of liberty and economic justice for all. To quote Dr. King, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”