UNITED STATES—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister, humanitarian and leader of the African-American church during the Civil Rights era. Not only did he serve to uphold the African-American community as they pushed toward basic freedoms in the United States, he believed in humanity for all, regardless of race, religion, origin or creed.

As we embark on Martin Luther King Day, celebrated on the third Monday of every January, we must remember, although his life was cut too short, he has taught us many important lessons when it comes to loving one another, including patience, kindness, peace and unity.

However you choose to celebrate MLK Day, big or small, take a step back to truly appreciate the freedom that you are allotted to celebrate such an important leader in American history.

Originally brought about in 1986, MLK Day serves as a reminder of how far we have come. Although we still have a ways to go towards complete equality, his legacy teaches us that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968, MLK’s life serves as a reminder to stand up for what we truly believe no matter the costs. Martin’s legacy inspires thousands of people to stand up to racisms and other inequalities that threaten our freedoms everyday.

“The struggle for freedom forms one long front crossing oceans and mountains. The brotherhood of man is not confined within a narrow, limited circle of select people. It is felt everywhere in the world, it is an international sentiment of surpassing strength and because this is true when men of good will finally unite they will be invincible,” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In his last published work, Where We Go From Here: Chaos or Community, King speaks about the imagined chasms and prejudices that hold people back as well as the relationships of the rights of African-Americans people in America, as well as South Africa.

Believing in non-violence, King also speaks about his “pilgrimage to non-violence” in his book, Stride Toward Freedom.

‘True pacifism,’ or ‘non-violent resistance,’ is ‘‘a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love.”  Although a Christian man, King also believed in the doctrine of Ghandhian believes, which celebrates a method of non-violence as one of the most powerful weapons against evil, especially for those who long for freedom.”

MLK’s physical body is long gone but he continues to live on as we celebrate his legacy annually. From festivals to mindful reflections, MLK Day represents more than a case of black and white, but how we are all interconnected as one, if we allow ourselves to love one another and live peacefully.