The lone grandchild of the late civil rights activist took part in the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the historic March in Washington, D.C., when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his well-known “I Have a Dream” speech.
If Yolanda Renee King, 15, could talk to her grandpa today, she would tell him, “I am sorry we still have to be here to rededicate ourselves to finishing your work.”
“We must fight against the triple evils of racism, poverty, and bigotry as advocated by Dr. King sixty years ago,” she said. “Racism persists in our society today.”
Poverty still exists. And now, gun violence has reached our places of worship, schools, and shopping malls.”
During her speech, Yolanda Renee King mentioned another problem that her generation “cannot escape”: climate change.
“When people accuse my generation of being cynical, we say cynicism is a luxury we cannot afford,” she said. “I believe that action, not apathy, will define my generation.”
A number of speakers, including Yolanda Renee King, addressed the assembly prior to the march from the Lincoln Memorial to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
Her parents, Martin Luther King III and Andrea Waters King, joined her at the platform.
Her mother expressed fatigue from their civil rights efforts but said, “We will keep climbing.”
“We are here to liberate the soul of the nation, the soul of democracy, from those forces who would have us all go backward and perish rather than forward as sisters and brothers,” stated Arndrea Waters King.
“We will never betray those who marched, fought, lived, and died for us.” We are their offspring and grandkids and shall be worthy of their sacrifices.”
“This is about liberty.” It is all about peace. This is all about love. “It’s about our children,” she went on. “We are not here to remember. We’ve come to renew our commitment to fighting for a future in which America’s practice matches its promise.”
One of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King’s four children, Martin Luther King III, talked of his parents’ commitment to “embracing love and lifting up the goodness in people.”
“We need everyone to be involved. “I’m sure Dad would say, now is the time,” he remarked. “Democracy must be preserved, protected, and expanded.”
We must guarantee that everyone’s right to vote is safeguarded. We must guarantee that our women and children get equal treatment. We must put a stop to gun violence. Then maybe one day we’ll be a great country.”
Martin Luther King III speculated that some may be wondering the same thing his father did in the late 1950s: “How long will it be?”
How much time will it take? Shortly, however. “Because the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” he remarked, echoing his father’s 1968 comments.
“How long will it be?” Not for long. Because God Almighty reigns supreme. We must not give up. Let us not give up. Let us not give up. We must go ahead to make this country what it should be for all of God’s children.”
A multicultural coalition of more than 100 organizations was set to converge in Washington, D.C., on Saturday in what organizers described as a continuation of the battle for civil rights and equality, rather than a remembrance of the 1963 march.
Civil rights leader Al Sharpton, who helped organize the march with the Kings; Andrew Young, a former Congressman and aide to Martin Luther King Jr.; civil rights attorney Ben Crump; Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League; Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke; and House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) were among those who addressed the crowd before the march.