King legacy

Yolanda Renee King reflects on Grandfather Martin Luther King’s legacy as she pushes for federal suffrage

“We are struggling with the same issues they are,” King said.

At first glance, Yolanda Renee King is your average teenager. She’s an eighth-grader from Atlanta who attends her college debate club and is waiting to see if she made the basketball team after trying last week.

But as the only granddaughter of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, the 13-year-old juggles not only homework but also civil rights activism as she grows up. with the determination to preserve the heritage of his family.

“I consider myself to be an activist,” King told ABC News. “Anyone who uses their platform for good, that’s activism.”

King was among more than 50 protesters arrested outside the White House for obstructing traffic during a voting rights protest on November 3.

On the same day, Republicans voted to block debate on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The bill is the third that Democrats have attempted to pass to provide federal intervention against restrictive voting measures that have been passed in GOP-led states across the country.

The young activist stood alongside her father, Martin Luther King III, and other protesters, who called on Congress to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis’s Advancement of Voting Rights Act , as well as to urge the Senate to modify or modify the filibuster.

“We plan to come back, especially after what we saw from Congress [on Wednesday]”King said.” They’ve blocked those bills again and it’s really frustrating. “

“It’s sad and disappointing that we still face the same issues as 58 years ago,” King continued. “We really need to make more progress. And while I think how honored it is for me to do what my grandfather and my family did, it is worrying that we are struggling with the same issues. than them. “

Wednesday’s protest was King’s first act of civil disobedience, but it was not the first time she has spoken nationally. She was only 9 when she spoke at the March for Our Lives rally in March 2018. Since then, she has continued to advocate for gun safety, as well as voting rights, action. climate, women’s rights and racial equality.

King told ABC News that although she has known her family’s legacy for as long as she can remember, it was about the same year as her March for Our Lives speech that she really understood. the weight of his grandparents’ contribution to civil rights in America. .

“I would say it was around the fourth year that I really understood the importance of my grandparents’ work. That’s when it really clicked for me,” King said. “A lot of people don’t get it, my grandfather not only made a change in America, he really changed the world.”

“Even now, I am learning things every day and wondering as I watch some of their manifestations and how they were beaten,” she added. “Would I have done that? Would I have been brave enough to do this because it takes a lot of courage? And then I think and say, ‘Wow, they had a lot of persistence.'”

As King tries to find her voice as a civil rights activist, she told ABC News that while she felt empowered to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps, she also wanted to forge her own path.

“I want to be an international human rights lawyer.… I can really help people and not just nationally, but globally as well,” King said.

“What I hope to do is make this world a lot better than it was when I first arrived.”