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Inspirational speeches for Martin Luther King Day

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Rev. Dr. Jonathan Walton and Deval Patrick
(Left) Rev. Dr. Jonathan Walton of Harvard Divinity School and (right) former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.
Photos courtesy of Gustavus Adolphus College and Tim Nelson | MPR News

Hear the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Walton of Harvard Divinity School and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. 

Walton said we should fight against evil and injustice by being civic-minded and socially responsible human beings.

He told the Gustavus Adolphus College audience to consider King's dream as "representative of a mature moral and political philosophy" that requires us to "move from a material-oriented society to a love-oriented society." He concluded that love and empathy will lead us to justice.

Walton gave the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture at Gustavus Adolphus Collge on Jan. 16, 2017. 

Patrick says we cannot be indifferent to injustice and unfairness. He said "America was founded on a handful of transcendent civic values. And we have defined those values over time — and through struggle — as freedom, equality, opportunity and fair play."

Patrick concluded that there has always been injustice, but indifference makes it worse. He called on the audience to "strain to hear the yearnings of the powerless as clearly as we do the expectations of the powerful," and be willing to think, and act, big. Martin Luther King, he said, knew that idealism is not a substitute for hard-headed problem-solving. 

Patrick gave the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast keynote address at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Jan. 18, 2016.

To listen to their speeches, click the audio player above.