5:39pm June 26, 2013

Bernice A. King: Activating Beyond the Dream to Commemorate 50th Anniversary of March

The Rev. Bernice King

On the heels of U.S. Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action and voting rights, Dr. Bernice A. King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., called upon all Americans to “make certain connections in this 50th anniversary year” of the March on Washington. Joined by a group of august leaders during a luncheon event hosted by AT&T’s Tanya Lombard, King espoused her vision for what the commemoration of the 1963 March means.

“There are thousands, perhaps millions, of young people who don’t fully realize how that time period [the civil rights era] connects with who they are today, the opportunities that they have today, and their responsibility to continue in the freedom struggle for those who come behind them,” King told Politic365 during an exclusive interview.

“My vision is to see that we use this as a great moment to educate young people about the movement, about where we are today, and with the recent [Supreme Court] ruling,” she continued, “it gives us a wonderful teachable moment.”

The irony of the high court’s Shelby County v. Holder ruling, which effectively gutted the Voting Rights Act, coming out 48 years after the original march is not lost on King, who sees the decision as a rallying cry for renewed civic engagement. “This happened in your time, in your generation. This is not something that happened way back then,” she proclaimed.

On Wednesday, August 28, 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom where he delivered his famed I Have a Dream speech to roughly 300,000 rally participants on the National Mall. The march is credited by many as being a necessary aid to passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Fifty years later, Dr. Bernice King, President and CEO of The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, is orchestrating a four-day conference, celebration and remembrance ceremony to help activate the next generation of civil rights advocates.  Beginning on August 25th and ending on Wednesday, August 28, 2013, the commemorative includes a collegiate conference, march reenactment, church service, K-12 virtual tour about the civil rights movement, panel discussions, a festival and a concert. In addition to inviting live participation in the event, King is looking to engage broader audiences by using social media and tech-focused outreach strategies across all four days of the event.

The message for this year’s celebration is clear:  it’s time to move beyond the dream and engage a new generation in new and meaningful ways. “I don’t like the word dream because I don’t want people to stay in a dream-like state,” King said. “I prefer words like activate.  We’ve got to be sharp in this moment.”

Holding strong to tenets of engagement beyond the voting booth, non-violence and educational achievement, and realizing the important role that technology plays in the modern civil rights movement, Dr. King is laser-focused that this year’s celebration be looked at not only as a recollection of the past, but also as a movement toward the future.

“We have to take time to educate and inform the next generation about their responsibility outside of voting, and show them how to have a strong voice that makes a difference. Yes, your vote does count,” she said,” but it’s the collective voices that get heard, that are engaged consistently, because if you just vote and go back home, you get ignored.”


About the Author

Kristal High
Kristal Lauren High co-founded and serves as Editor in Chief of Politic365. She also operates her own communications and creative engagement company. The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and have complete editorial independence from any Politic365 partners, sponsors, or advertisers. For additional information about Politic365, please visit http://politic365.com/about/.



H.R. 3713: Urban League, FAMM Voice Concerns on #JusticeReform Bills

In a striking statement that’s a departure from the views of other major civil rights groups, National Urban League President Marc Morial expressed concerns with the two leading sentencing reform bills in Congress: S. 212...
by Lauren Victoria Burke


Rep. John Conyers Supports Criminal Intent Bill, Catches Hell From Left

Other Democrats have been criticized for it, but they weren’t in the position of actually passing legislation on the issue. As of yesterday, the most senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee is.  Rep. John Conyer...
by Lauren Victoria Burke


Nov. 18: Goodlatte-Conyers Bill with New Heroin Penalty Heads to Cmte.

Legislation authored by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and ranking Democrat John Conyers (D-MI) that includes an expanded penalty for heroin containing fentanyl, will be considered by the full House Judiciary Co...
by Lauren Victoria Burke



Hollande Plans Response to Worst Attack in Paris Since WWII

French President Francois Hollande is preparing a response to the attacks on his country. “This is an act of war” Hollande said regarding the near-simultaneous attacks in Paris that killed nearly 130 people and lef...
by Lauren Victoria Burke


Someone Ask Bobby Jindal to Explain Glenn Ford and Albert Woodfox

“What’s your biggest weakness,” was the first debate question for 8 Republican candidates for President one night.  Someone could have answered for Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal, because the answer ...
by Lauren Victoria Burke


One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>