National & International

Bernice King calls for nonviolent activism on Martin Luther King Day

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Minister and daughter of Martin Luther King Jr, Bernice King has warned against violence both physical and spoken amid pandemic, racism and insurrection according to the Guardian

Speakers at the annual Martin Luther King Jr holiday celebration in Atlanta on Monday called for renewed dedication to nonviolence following a turbulent year that saw a deadly pandemic, protests over systemic racism and a divisive election capped by an insurrection on the US Capitol.

“This King holiday has not only come at a time of great peril and physical violence, it has also come during a time of violence in our speech – what we say and how we say it,” said the Rev Bernice King, the civil rights leader’s daughter.

She added: “It is frankly out of control and we are causing too much harm to one another.”

Bernice King said the toll of the pandemic, lingering outrage over killings of unarmed Black people and the deadly siege of Congress in Washington on 6 January by supporters of Donald Trump, now impeached for egging them on, all underscore an urgent need to pursue what her father called “the beloved community” – a world in which conflict is solved nonviolently and compassion dictates policy.

She quoted her father’s words from more than 50 years ago: “There is such a thing as being too late.

“We still have a choice today – nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation,” Bernice King said, again reciting the words of her father.

“This may well be mankind’s last chance to choose between chaos and community.”

The coronavirus pandemic forced the annual King Day service at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist church to be held online during the 35th celebration of King’s birthday as a national holiday.

The ceremony included prerecorded remarks by the president-elect, Joe Biden, who recalled sensing the civil rights leader’s “restless spirit” during a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum housed at the Tennessee motel where King was fatally shot outside his room in 1968.





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