CHICAGO (CBS) — Ahead of Martin Luther King day, one of his lieutenants is calling on followers of the slain civil rights leader to work even harder to fight racism.

C.T. Vivian said Dr. King forced the world’s most powerful country to say yes, when it wanted to say no. WBBM’s Nancy Harty reports.

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“Martin made America, face the fact, that is was a sick society,” Vivian said.

In a half-hour speech to parishioners at St. Sabina Catholic Church in Chicago, Vivian said Dr. King helped free the country of racism but now it’s coming back.

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“We’re seeing ourselves going backward, instead of forward,” Vivian said. “That means, only we and God can change it.”

Vivian said Dr. King’s belief in non-violent civil disobedience proved you can overcome evil without hurting people.

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Vivian spoke of an assassination attempt 10 years before King was murdered, saying the scar above his heart provided a constant reminder of the importance of their work.