BY ALYSSA KHAN
On January 14, 2021, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s (MLK) daughter, Dr. Bernice A. King, participated in a webinar in honor of the 30th annual MLK Celebration. Beyond the fact that she is Dr. King’s daughter, Bernice King has made a name for herself in the world. She has become a well-known activist, lawyer and orator and was the only child out of four to become a minister like her father was.
The event, hosted by Master of Ceremony and Florida International University (FIU) alumni Michael Baiamonte, opened with the winners of the MLK Celebration video contest. He introduced the members of the FIU Social Justice Committee, who then spoke about what it means to honor MLK—that we should remember what he taught and how he used his voice to change the world. The introduction concluded with Bernice King’s presenting of the videos of the 2021 MLK Peace Award winners.
Finally, Vice President for Engagement at FIU Saif Ishoof introduced Dr. Bernice A. King. The first topic they discussed was the events that took place on January 6, when supporters of former president Donald J. Trump stormed the Capitol.
“These people were raised in hate; they’re racist and it shows how nonviolence hasn’t changed,” King said. “Violence has been a part of our identity. These people intended to cause great harm. This means we got a lot of work to do.”
“Violence has been a part of our identity. These people intended to cause great harm. This means we got a lot of work to do.”Activist, lawyer and orator Dr. Bernice King
CCHS Multicultural Club president Lauren Dupoux had the privilege of attending this event.
“Dr. King taught me that violence is never the answer. While I’ve known and believed in this lesson for most of my life, she truly shed light on this matter and made it a lot more real. Not only [did she do this by] comparing the events of the present with those of the past, but she was also able to emphasize the importance of love towards all,” Dupoux said. “Echoing the views and lessons of her father, she conveyed the message of how love and non-violence can change this world if we just learn to coexist peacefully.”
It has been said that King’s speeches and ministering is quite similar to her father. Her values and morals are known to follow what her father taught. Ishoof brought up the late Dr. King’s notion of agape love which Bernice King is known to embody and embrace.
Agape love is defined as a selfless, sacrificial and unconditional love. It is the highest of the four types of love in the Bible. Ishoof asked King how she thinks we can continue to represent the ideas of agape love.
“We have to see the haters as part of our humanity and remember that violence is not the answer.”Activist, lawyer and orator Dr. Bernice King
“We have to see the haters as part of our humanity and remember that violence is not the answer,” King said. “It is not a solution. It creates more difficult problems as we have seen in politics recently.”
Bernice King is similar to her father in more ways than one. She stressed the importance of nonviolence in the past and nowadays. According to her, if we all learn to love regardless of race, we will be okay. CCHS Multicultural Club Treasurer Kaylynn Nguyen, who also attended the event, was especially touched by this piece of King’s speech.
“Dr. King highlighted the importance of engaging in civil conversation and peaceful interactions,” Nguyen said. “Not only did she encourage us to remain firm in our beliefs when it comes to injustice, but she also urged us to take action—as in the case of [Georgia politician] Stacey Abrams.”
For attendees of the 30th Annual MLK Celebration, being able to experience the second generation of a man who left a great legacy was quite the experience. A reminder of the policies of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is something everyone needs to hear throughout these times.
“Violence is never the answer,” Bernice King said. “Love will win every time.”
Photo by Alyssa Khan