DELORES McCAIN ASKS: What impact or influence
has Dr. King had on your life? What do you think he would be fighting for or speaking about today?

Austin Library – 5615 W. Race St.

Shaka Barak

“I think that the impact or influence that Dr. King has made on my life is making me aware that those men and women who made a difference by fighting and speaking for truth; that we will have to pay a price. And Martin Luther King influenced me into understanding that the price will be your honor, your scared fortune or your life. Thank you, Dr. King, for showing us the model and the way.”

Mary Nelson founder of Bethel New Life

“King had a profound impact on my life. I was active and marched with King a number of times in the ’60s, especially when he came here to Chicago. And it was the riots of 1965 that really got our little church, Bethel Church, to say we’ve got to do something and not sit around and belly ache. And the quote I just love from King that I share with everybody is ‘We know finite disappointment but we got infinite hope.’ That keeps me going. Today, I think King would be focusing on two things, which he did at that speech at Riverside Church before he died. It would be war and peace. The $3 trillion we’re spending on killing people, we need to figure out how to take those same dollars to absolutely eradicate poverty in this country and in the world. It could happen.”

Rickie Brown

” I think he would be speaking today about people having to come together now. I think that he would be concerned about a black man running for president, which is a legacy and a dream that he wanted to see come about. He would be really, really happy. The impact he had on my life is my project I am working on for the West side ‘The Gateway Project’. He made it possible to have a vision and strive for it. So that is the greatest impact on my life, to be proud of who I am as a man.”

Benny Meeks

“Dr. King gave me a great sense of hope of breaking doors and barriers. Today, I think Dr. King would focus on one of the same things he was talking about before he was assassinated – that we as Afro-Americans had to prepared intellectuality. Dr. King broke down some doors and broke down some barriers, but the next step we needed to do was prepare ourselves intellectuality. I also think one of his main focuses would be the ongoing war we have in Iraq. It has burdened our country economically. That war has taken resources that would normally be used for our country. It is very disappointing to see this war going on and on, and not seeing any real consequence of it.”

Constance Ativie

“The impact Dr. King had on my life was the fact he sacrificed. Whatever he believed in, he sacrificed, even though during his last days he knew eventually he was going to die or be killed, and he was OK with that. That shows a true man or woman that if you are willing to sacrifice for something you believe in, then to hell with the rest. Today, he would be speaking about the mis-education of young African Americans. Because of things like drugs, too many parents have dropped the ball. They didn’t wake up and drugs just happened today. The grandparents are raising they’re kids because the parents are so selfish. They choose getting high all day as opposed to taking care of their kids. I think Dr. King would really be talking about these kinds of issues.”

Darnell Henderson

“If he were here today, first I think he would speak out about the injustice of the penal system, as well as the banking system and the homeless issue. The church is not being more influential in the neighborhoods. Overall, Dr. King made an impact on my life by getting up and doing something, rather than sitting down and complaining. Stand up and do something to help change this world, because if we don’t change the world, nobody else will. It is up to us to change our life, rather than to let someone else come in and change it. No one can do for you what you can do for yourself.”