Nearly sixty years ago, civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. shared his dreams of equality, freedom, economic and civil rights in our nation’s capital. Sadly, those dreams remain largely unfulfilled as we continue to grapple with discrimination and prejudice.

Communities of color are struggling to break the cycle of poverty and preserve their right to vote.

Our Jewish and Muslim neighbors have been assaulted because of their faith.

Our borders are closed – turning away or detaining migrant families seeking refuge from violence.

Fellow Americans on the island of Puerto Rico are left to fend for themselves, deprived of $8 billion in disaster aid relief appropriated by Congress.

Our present-day is a far cry from the future that Dr. King envisioned for his four children or the future generations that would be raised in the U.S. It is our responsibility to continue the work that began so long ago, to ensure that the sacrifices that were made by his generation were not in vain. They risked life and limb to secure the freedoms and liberties that many of us take for granted.

As we commemorate his life and legacy, it is equally important for us to reflect on how we can galvanize then mobilize our community to champion justice and fairness for all. I challenge you to mentor our youth, volunteer with a nonprofit organization, join your community board or precinct community council to learn how you can help create an inclusive and more equitable city. It is up to us to lead by example and live a life of service to others.

There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right. – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr.