‘Brilliant and inspired’ -- Michigan leaders reflect on MLK’s legacy

‘Brilliant and inspired’ -- Michigan leaders reflect on MLK’s legacy
Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 9:31 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 17, 2022 at 11:15 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Since 1955, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has been the face of American civil rights.

As people across the country reflected on his legacy, some Mid-Michigan leaders are doing the same.

East Lansing Mayor Ron Bacon and community leader Ashlee Willis spoke about the impact Dr. King had on their lives.

“You look at Dr. King’s movement and these were people in their 20s and 30s,” Bacon said. “I’m just in awe.”

Bacon is the first Black mayor of East Lansing. He also served on the Dr. Martin Luther King Commission of Mid-Michigan, dedicating his time to keep MLK’s legacy and teachings alive.

Bacon said the most important message from Dr. King he hopes the younger generation will latch onto is getting an education.

“This gentleman was highly educated at a very young age and he had a very advanced intellect,” Bacon said. “I think education is still the key to moving things forward. We can only go as far as we know.”

“He really emphasized the importance of loving one another,” Willis said.

Willis serves on the mayor’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council. She’s also a successful business owner and holds board positions on multiple nonprofits. As someone who studies the teachings of Dr. King, she said he has taught her that unity among all races, genders, religions and more is the key to prosperity.

“His message of us being one inspires hope for not only today, but tomorrow and for the future,” Willis said. “If we all come together and take away our political divisiveness of everything and really think about humanity, that is the true inspiration that we all need to think about for hope for the future.”

Willis encourages people to take time to read Dr. King’s books and speeches to look for inspiration on how to keep his dream alive.

Related: A look at MLK’s commitment to voter rights as voting legislation stalls

More: Community news

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