EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Local leaders express the importance of giving back and creating change in your community in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King was a civil rights activist and leader who worked to provide equality for all. 

“There’s a lot of work to be done across many areas of our social and politics,” Darryl Heller, director of Indiana University’s South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center said.

Rev. Gerald C. Arnold, president of the Evansville NAACP branch says it’s important to continue Dr. King’s fight for equal rights in all facets.

“It’s important that we acknowledge him for what he did in his struggle,” Rev. Arnold said. “It was about racial equality. It was about everybody’s civil rights.”

Rev. Arnold as well as Heller believe change starts in the community by creating the change you would like to see.

“It’s a myth that leaders make change, it’s ordinary people,” Heller said. “Ordinary people need to continue to organize in their communities. Many of the changes that do take place happen locally.”

Every third Monday of January, many people in the community roll up their sleeves and volunteer on MLK Day of Service. A day that Rev. Arnold says it is important in teaching the next generation about the need to serve and volunteer in the community.

“We have to keep transferring that sacrificial care,” Rev. Arnold said. “That compassion that we recognize. We don’t just fight for ourselves but for future generations.”