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Have You Heard?
“My name is Yolanda Renee King, granddaughter of Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King,” said the 9-year-old girl addressing an enraptured crowd gathered in Washington, DC on March 24. “My grandfather had a dream that his four little children would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
“I have a dream that enough is enough! And that this should be a gun-free world, period!” Yolanda proclaimed, standing next to Parkland survivor Jaclyn Corinat the 'March for Our Lives' rally.
King wore an orange gun violence awareness ribbon pinned to her coat, inspiring marchers and an international TV audience with her vision. She stood not far away from the site of her grandfather's famous 'I Have A Dream Speech', delivered 55 years ago at the March on Washington.
It's doubtful that America will achieve Yolanda King's dream of a gun-free world, given an accepted right enshrined in the US Constitution to own guns to hunt or protect oneself. Many of us imagine victory as getting assault weapons off American streets and instituting universal background checks, no exceptions.
For me, Yolanda Renee King left us with an even greater gift: HOPE.
As Donald Trump and his wrecking crew try to take America back to the 1950s, where white men ruled, activism needs HOPE and that hope can only come from our young people, who will lead a new wave of demands for racial, gender-based and economic justice in America, free from the stereotypes deeply embedded in the American psyche.
The majority of so-called Christian evangelicals not only embrace Trump but agree that America should roll back the clock 70 years. Under the canopy of a demanding, vengeful God (only one of four visions of God operating in America), Trump and his supporters seek to roll back gay marriage, birth control, public education -- there is no limit to their desire to obliterate decades of progress under the false narrative that it's God's will and Trump has been sent by God to achieve these goals.
Within this context, it was Yolanda Renee King's closing chant that reduced me to tears and gave me hope. I've played it countless times.
Three times King challenged her audience to raise their voices even louder. Not only was a new American leader born on March 24, 2018. I have every confidence that our young people will build on an unprecedented wave of activism in America not seen since the sixties. And tens of millions of adults -- tired activists ourselves -- are lining up to take our marching orders from new, tactical, young voices.
On this excruciating anniversary of the death of her grandfather, Rev Martin Luther King II, let the words of Yolanda Renee King ring far and wide across America. ~ Anne
“Spread the word. Have you heard? All across the nation. We are going to be a great generation."
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