MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - A small crowd came to the Minneapolis Convention Center on Saturday to kick off a weekend dedicated to celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"I love Dr. King, he died for us," attendee Jabreal Zero told FOX 9. "He fought for our people. Anybody who fights for our people has helped the life of all living African people… I just wish he had more time to get to where I believe he was headed."
Assassinated at 39 years old, if alive today Dr. King would have turned 93 years old on Saturday.
"We lost someone who was a source of inspiration," University of Minnesota political science and African Studies professor August Nimtz said. "We were stunned; we were blown away."
MLK 2022 event at the Minneapolis Convention Center Saturday featured conversations focused on the past and future of Black people in America. (FOX 9)
The crowd celebrated Dr. King’s 93rd birthday with deep discussion, conversations centered around a panel of activists and leaders, including renowned speaker Dr. Umar Johnson.
"No leader since [Dr.] King has done what Dr. King has done," Johnson said afterwards. "They’ve all talked, they’ve collected a lot of money, but they haven’t made the changes that he has made."
Fellow speaker professor Nimtz grew up in a world where everything was segregated, from hospitals to graveyards. He credits Dr. King with helping to change that.
"I told my students, look at me, you see who I am, I wouldn’t be here at the University of Minnesota teaching had we had not been in the streets inspired by what [Dr.] King was doing," Nimtz said.
Dr. King inspired millions to mobilize, taking to the streets to demand their rights, but even in 2022, for many the work is far from over.
"The further we get away from the passing of Dr. King, the more we realize how relevant he was for the black liberation struggle," Dr. Johnson finished.