The room stood silent as Bernice King, daughter of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., spoke about our changing times. Bernice opened her lecture with the simple question. “What would you do to change the world?” Everyone in the audience was challenged to tell another person their ideas. The room buzzed as conversations around the auditorium, and her point was made. She wanted to show that we each have our own thoughts of how to change the world.
“While our elected officials have their roles and their functions in this life, each and every one of you have a responsibility to contribute to the progress of this nation. From the sound of it, you have some ideas. None of us is lacking in ideas.”
What is life like as a King?
During childhood, her parents thought it was best for the movement that the King family lived among the people. They only had security for a short time, but otherwise they led normal lives.
As one would imagine, Bernice and her siblings have had large expectations placed upon them, because
of who their father was. She said in the earlier stages of her life she struggled with the fact that she was living in a big shadow of her father. To combat those thoughts, she strayed away from reading and watching her father’s teachings so she could discover her own voice and identity as an activist and pastor.
Bernice now works as CEO of the King Center, a historic site in Atlanta that is committed to making MLK’s legacy last forever.
“My mother said you don’t have to be me, you don’t have to be your father, but whatever you do in this life, be your best self.”
Inspiration for the next generation
Throughout her lecture, Bernice circled back to one
message, that we must make meaningful connections with the people around us. She stressed the importance of not “building walls,” but making a conscious effort of “building bridges” so we may foster true community.
Even though we all came from different parts of the world, “we are being beckoned to truly become the United States of America,” according to Bernice this can be accomplish through establishing “real connections.” She challenged students to go out and really get to know each other before sitting down and talking through the big issues.
“My passions and desires are toward the next generation. Everything I do is for your generation, and my knowing that I have to continue carrying this message until enough people are infected.”
So with Bernice’s ideals in mind, Pawprint wants to know what our readers’ dreams are; How will you decide to change the world?