Here are the Martin Luther King Jr. words that inspire today's social justice leaders

Updated 1416 GMT (2216 HKT) January 17, 2022

(CNN)More than a half a century has passed since the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial calling for freedom and equality -- and the fight for social justice appears to be far from over.

Activists and athletes fighting for equality in the Black, Latino, Asian American, Native American and Muslim American communities took a moment to reflect on King's words when asked by CNN last year.
They shared their thoughts weeks after the insurrection at the US Capitol and months after the police killing of George Floyd sparked widespread protests and rekindled the Black Lives Matter movement.
A year later, their views remain relevant as more than a dozen states have moved to enact restrictive voting laws and King's family demands action on federal voting rights legislation.
Each of the activists and athletes who spoke with CNN selected a quote from the civil rights movement leader and shared why it resonates with them. Here are their responses, some of which have been edited for clarity:

Dolores Huerta

Huerta, a Mexican American civil rights icon, formed a farmworkers union with Cesar Chavez and is president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation. She chose a quote from King's speech titled "The Three Evils of Society."
Why did Huerta pick that quote?
"Racism is a sickness. Many Americans with that sickness stormed the nation's Capitol recently as racism feeds fascism. Racism stems from ignorance and creates, hate, fear violence and destruction," Huerta said.
"Dr. Martin Luther King warned us that racism threatened the very foundation of our democracy. Racism began with slavery, the oppression of workers, the subjugation of women and children."
Huerta said that a national effort is needed to save the United States' democracy from fascism and to end the racism which "is so ingrained in our body politic."
"We have no choice but to heal."

Patrisse Cullors

Cullors is an artist, political strategist, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, and author of the upcoming "An Abolitionist's Handbook: 12 Steps to Changing Yourself and the World." She chose a quote from King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."