By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On the day Americans honor civil rights legend Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., some hope to celebrate his legacy by standing up and speaking out against injustice.

Hamline University criminal justice professor Jason Sole is working on this holiday. He honors King by having a day on, not a day off.

READ MORE: 'We Need To Teach His History': Events Across Minneapolis Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“You still got to do his work. He would be proud if you did something in his spirit rather than just idolize him as an icon or a legend,” Sole said.

Sole says King fought for justice with his last breath, and he believes we should honor him today by speaking up.

“He died in Memphis organizing sanitation workers. It’s a lot of people on strike. Where I’m from in Chicago, you know, rights for teachers. Like, do something to support those efforts,” Sole said. “MLK said, ‘The greatest of America is the right to protest for rights.’ So stand up for something.”

Professor Jason Sole (credit: CBS)

Sole says the battle over voting rights in 2022 is not something King would be pleased with.

“He’d be saying, ‘Voting rights for everybody,’ man. Like, it don’t matter what I view you as as a person. What matters most is if you want a true democracy, you need all voices, even voices you don’t agree with,” Sole said.

He believes this is the kind of injustice King would use to motivate the masses to fight for change.

“He wouldn’t want us to stand for what we getting right now. He would not have done all that he did back then for us to be living like this today,” Sole said. “It’s always happy to lift up one of the fallen ancestors, like somebody who’s not here with us, that’s amazing. But at the same time the dream has yet to be fulfilled.”

Sole hopes people realize how far we have come as a nation, and the long way we still have to travel to reach that mountain top.

Sole challenges his students to be the difference in the world. Many chose to honor King with a day of service by working towards a better community.

Reg Chapman