FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — One local pastor is reflecting on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and what the holiday represents in 2022 in the Central Valley.

Pastor Paul Binion of the Westside Church of God calls Fresno home, but he was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and grew up in the American south in the 1950s and 1960s. He says his father made the decision to move to California, primarily to get away from the region’s racial tension at the time.

Binion believes Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the perfect time for Americans to reflect and do, what the pastor calls, a “self-check.”

“I think that we need to grade ourselves regarding the principles and teachings of the Reverand Dr. King,” says Binion. “How are we doing with helping our fellow man? How are we with moving unity forward to unite our communities?”

Pastor Binion says he has dedicated his life to uniting people.

“I believe that if Dr. King was living today […] I think that [he] would say that he’s still looking down the mountain and that he’s seen great progress,” says Binion. “We still have a long ways to go.”

Although it was before his time in the Central Valley Binion notes that Dr. King did spend time in the area and that his message of compassion still resonates today.

“The bible teaches that compassion is when we’re able to put ourselves in the shoes of our fellow citizens. Able to transfer our lives to their lives and further understand what they’re going through,” Binion says. “That’s true compassion.”