Thursday, April 15, 2021

Bernice King says MLK Day provides a 'measuring point' for the country at local Day of Celebration

January 19, 2021
<p>Elaine Hardy, chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Mid-Michigan, in conversation with Bernice King at the commission&#x27;s annual Day of Celebration. The commission was able to have Bernice King as a featured speaker this year because the event was live-streamed rather than in person, so Bernice King could attend virtually from Atlanta. </p>

Elaine Hardy, chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Mid-Michigan, in conversation with Bernice King at the commission's annual Day of Celebration. The commission was able to have Bernice King as a featured speaker this year because the event was live-streamed rather than in person, so Bernice King could attend virtually from Atlanta.

Photo by Hope O'Dell | The State News

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Mid-Michigan held their annual Day of Celebration today to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy. His daughter, Bernice King, was a featured speaker.

Bernice King emphasized the importance of her parents’ legacy and bringing those tenets to the new movement. She called her mother the “architect of the King legacy.” 

“Honestly, you can’t celebrate the King holiday and not celebrate Coretta Scott King,” she said.

Bernice King said it was a very exciting moment for her whole family when President Ronald Reagan declared a national holiday on her father’s birthday. She said it was especially meaningful to her mother, who had been working to maintain Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy even before he was assassinated. 

She also said her father’s birthday falling at the beginning of the year is one of the most crucial moments in the country. She said it provides the country with a “measuring point.” 

“To really look at where we are in terms of creating a more just, humane, equitable, peaceful society,” Bernice King said.

She also said this year was a critical moment to acknowledge those from the civil rights movement as racial tensions have increased since last summer’s protests against police brutality. 

“We need to salute and celebrate those who served without weapons to save this nation from literal bloodshed, blood baths,” Bernice King said. “And to give this nation a soul and a heart because had it not been for that movement in the ‘50s and ‘60s, we would be a totally heartless and soulless nation.”

Bernice King said she sees herself as a bridge in many ways, including between the civil rights movement and the new movement. 

“I have come to realize that that’s my calling, to bridge,” she said.

The event also featured messages from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow and U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin.

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