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Missoulians celebrate holiday, remember King’s message

By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
Published On: Jan 21 2013 10:53:41 PM MST
MISSOULA, Mont. -

On Monday millions around the nation honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

NBC Montana caught up with locals marking a national day of service to remember Dr. King's struggle to end racial segregation.

People we talked to said Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a perfect reminder of how far we’ve come as a nation. 

George Price has volunteered for the MLK Planning Committee in Missoula for the last eight years and says he still thinks King is a great leader even today. 

“He says all of our issues are one, we're an intertwined fabric -- the whole nation is -- and if one part is hurting then we're all hurting,” said Price. 

“Like the last few years of Dr. King's life, our annual celebration has grown way beyond just dealing with racial issues or diversity issues, to all sorts of needs of the American people,” said Price. 

Price says he believes King's teachings are not only about equality for minorities but a just future for all.

“You don't have to wait for leaders, you know,” said Price.  “Dr. King didn't tell everybody 'Don't make a move without me.’ He didn't say that.”

“Until there's equality for all people, I think we're going to need to keep fighting,” said Ben Mincks, chair of the Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee.

Mincks says gatherings like the one in Caras Park are important because they allow folks to come out and discuss issues like poverty, human rights and equality.

“It's definitely important to be getting kids thinking about peace and equality and nonviolence especially with all of the bullying that's been going on these days,” said Mincks. 

Price says there is a lot to take away from King's teachings and one important thing he learned was to step up and be a leader.

“He said ‘All you folks go out into your communities and make a difference,’” said Price.  “You don't wait for leaders.”

If King were alive today he would be witnessing the first African-American president sworn into his second term and although that's progress he would be proud of, Price says the world still has a lot to learn and more progress to make.