King’s daughter says wars, gun violence, racism have pushed humanity to the brink

Bernice King daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., speaks during a news conference at the Martin Luther King Jr speaks during a news conference at the King Center Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
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By SUDHIN THANAWALA

Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Citing gun violence in the U.S., the deaths of families in Ukraine and Gaza from war, and threats from artificial intelligence, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter said Thursday the world urgently needs to study and adopt her father’s philosophy of nonviolence to avoid self-destruction.

The Rev. Bernice King used an address to announce events for the upcoming holiday in honor of her father to warn that humanity was at a critical juncture.

“We are witnessing unprecedented loss of human life and especially among the Black, brown and indigenous people throughout the world,” she said.

She also mentioned conflicts in Yemen, Congo and Ethiopia and cited racism against Black people as another threat to humans, saying it remained a “blight” more than 50 years after her father was assassinated.

Overall, humanity was dangerously close to fulfilling her father’s prophecy that it could destroy itself through the misuse of its own instruments, she warned. But she also offered a solution.

The study and practice of her father’s philosophy of nonviolence could teach people how to live together peacefully, she said. The events the King Center has planned this year for the week leading up to the MLK holiday, including a teach-in and training seminars, are therefore centered on the theme of shifting “the cultural climate” through “Kingian nonviolence.”

“We face individual and collective choices that will determine whether we will continue to diminish and devastate humanity and the earth or if we will become co-conspirators to shift the cultural climate throughout our nation and world,” she said.

King said the center also plans to honor her mother, Coretta Scott King, with a virtual exhibit later this year that will highlight her work to advance civil rights and her husband’s legacy.