Martin Luther King Jr.’s Daughter Urges Protestors to Use ‘Non-Violent Means’
By Rachel McRady
Paras Griffin/Getty Images
Dr. Bernice King, the youngest child of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is speaking out as protests are carried out around the country. The 57-year-old CEO of The King Center spoke at a city briefing in Atlanta, Georgia, over the weekend where she addressed those protesting the death of George Floyd.
"I've obviously been in the place of the daughter of George, a 6-year-old left without her daddy who was killed senselessly as my father was assassinated senselessly," King said, referencing her father's 1968 death. "It sent me on a journey of anger, and I fought that demon a long time."
King went on to follow in the footsteps of her Civil Rights leader father, urging a non-violent civil disobedience.
"This is a moment where people are feeling a lot of stuff right now and are fed up. And as I stand in this moment and I look at my journey, I have to make an appeal to my brothers and sisters. Because I realize that the only way to get constructive change is through non-violent means," she continued.
She added that others should "listen to the cries that are coming out of the hearts and the souls of my young brothers and sisters and all of the others that are in the streets of America right now and in our city."
The activist went on to note that systemic racism and white supremacy must be dealt with through non-violent means.
"It's a proven method. It did not fail my father," she added. "Right now it's about what is the end goal. The end goal is we want change and we want it now, but change never comes through violence. It is not a solution."
King noted that though she doesn't support violent protests, that doesn't mean she doesn't relate to protestors' pain.
"I am speaking through my heart now and saying I feel you. Trust me, I feel you," she said. "I've been close to the edge this time, but I can't go back to all that I felt inside and the rage that was inside that wanted me to destroy people and destroy lives as Martin Luther King's daughter."
Floyd, a black man living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, died after a police officer held him down by the neck with his knee for more than seven minutes when he was arrested for suspicion of forgery. The incident was filmed and Floyd was seen repeatedly telling the officer, "I can't breathe."