Des Moines Leaders and Residents Reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Legacy


DES MOINES, Iowa — On the heels of last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests and this month’s attack on the U.S. Capitol, people are looking to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man who stood for equality and justice.

Some people still hold on to his words.

“He spoke to the power of love. He said, hate cannot drive out darkness. Only love can do that,” said John Krieg, a Des Moines resident.

Des Moines resident Frank Bowers believed Dr. King’s speeches are relevant for today’s political climate.

“His message of nonviolence and love, especially in this political climate, I think it’s particularly important to remember his message,” Bowers said.

Despite Dr. King’s legacy, others believe his dream has yet to come to fruition.

“His dream would still be the same because that is what we’re continuously fighting for. I don’t think that dream will ever change,” said Rev. Rob Johnson with No Justice, No Peace. “As long as there’s somebody who is referred to as oppressed or the least of these, then we always got to keep the dream alive.”

However, young people are fighting back and carrying out Dr. King’s fight for justice.

“The experiences from this past summer brought a lot of people that normally wouldn’t be protesters or politically active into the streets, and we see that all the way down to younger people,” said Mark Langgin, the director and board member of New Frontier Action Fund.

As we reflect on Dr. King’s legacy, Des Moines resident Robert Smith believes we should take a good look at ourselves.

“[How do you define unity?] What does that look like? What does that mean to you?” Smith said.


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