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Younger Generation Looks to Uphold Legacy of Martin Luther King

Central Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a diverse intersection of high academia, urban life and faith — a snapshot of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy, and it's playing out for the next generation in a church basement.

"There's, like, danger to MLK's legacy being diluted a little bit," April Ognibene said.

Fifty years after the assassination of Dr. King, there's a no-holds-barred conversation about race and class in the basement of Cambridge Community Fellowship Church.

"So, how has the legacy of Dr. King impacted you?" asked pastor Larry Kim.

He's challenging a group of mostly 20-somethings to think about the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and what King would do today.

"He would say, 'Keep moving forward. This ain't over," said Francisco Paulino.

Pastor Kim is also helping guide the social media generation through current events as he tries to shape the identity of his local church around racial reconciliation and social justice.

"This whole movement, March For Our Lives, that was totally because of Twitter," said Sarah Coppola. "Black Lives Matter, would that exist without technology?"

in the 1960s, Dr. King once said on NBC's Meet the Press that 11 o'clock on Sunday mornings is the most segregated hour in Christian America.

That's why this group laments that the church is less involved in injustice movements today. So if Dr. King's civil rights legacy lives on, they believe it needs to start with a fundamental examination of the American church and a tough look at their own blind spots and biases.

"Even in the church, like, the chances that we are reconciled to one another racially ... is low," said Sierra Thoreson.

However, progress is being made. Pastor Kim's congregation may be one of the most ethnically diverse in Greater Boston, and they're working on the socioeconomic part.

But if the "I Have A Dream" Speech is the standard for the country's soul, they agree it's not just about more sermons or conversations — it's about practicing what's already been preached.

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