MLKMartin Luther King was the pivotal figure in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. His calm civil disobedience and charismatic leadership inspired men and women, young and old, here and around the world.

President Ronald Reagan signed legislation in 1983 designating the day as a federal holiday to honor the man and his accomplishments.

Dr. King inspired so many, so much that in 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – the youngest man to receive the prestigious honor.

When we think about amount of violence prevalent today and the increasingly violent movies, television shows and video games, I totally agree with Dr. King’s daughter, Bernice.

“Dr. King’s philosophy of non-violence is more relevant, I believe, than it was 10 years ago,” she said. “America has an enormous appetite for violence. I don’t know why we have such an affinity for that, but I do know it has to stop.”

Through his lectures and dialogues, he stirred, and still stirs, our conscience. Consider these MLK quotes as you honor him today:

On Leadership

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

On Love

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

On Getting Along

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

On Faith

“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”

On Service

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

And as you think about that last quote, I remind you of the legislation passed in in 1994 establishing Martin Luther King Day of Service to encourage citizens to use the federal holiday as an opportunity to give back to their communities.

Even if you don’t have the federal day off, I encourage you to find a work that forwards King’s vision and participate. Let MLK Day be the start of a year in which you make a  positive and peaceful impact in your community.