“He saw in the Constitution a fulfillment of a promise, and he spent his life trying to redeem that promise,” Young said of King, who was assassinated 50 years ago this week.
Young said King strove to confront the triple evils of “race, war and poverty.”
Although progress has been made, work remains to be done, the former U.N. ambassador and Atlanta mayor said, and he sees the recent youth-led movement against gun violence as part of the solution.
"Dr. King used to say that unearned suffering is redemptive," Young said. The teens from Parkland, Florida, leading the current movement are innocents "splattered by the blood of classmates," he said.
"I think these young people are going to be involved in the redemption of America from poverty, from war, from violence," Young said. "I think that’s -- that’s the key to the future.
Young also addressed the recent fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man in Sacramento, California, which has sparked days of protests.
He said poverty is a factor in police violence.
“Many of the things that we think of as racial now, a lot of the police violence, a lot of the -- the conflict between the rich and the poor, that comes out as -- as much more related to poverty than race,” Young said.