Martin Luther King's Daughter Says 'Only Way to Get Constructive Change Is Through Nonviolent Means'
"Nonviolence is not weak or passive," Dr. Bernice King wrote
Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter, Dr. Bernice King, is urging protesters to take a nonviolent course of action when demonstrating.
Over the weekend, protests over racial injustice and police brutality in response to the killing of George Floyd — a black man who died after a white police officer pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck —took place in over 30 cities nationwide, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, D.C., and Seattle.
Some of the demonstrations took a violent turn, resulting in looting and riots between law enforcement and protestors.
Dr. King condemned the acts of violence during a city briefing on the Atlanta City protests in Georgia on Saturday. "As I stand here in this moment and look at my journey, I have to make an appeal to my brothers and sisters, because I realized that the only way to get constructive change is through nonviolent means," she said, before reminding everyone that her late father once said, "Riots are the language of the unheard."
While explaining how "nonviolent means" were a "proven method" of instigating change, she said, "It did not fail my father... it did not fail them," adding, "Because when you really understand it and really practice it, it brings about the results."
"We want change and we want it now," Dr. King said. "But change never comes through violence. It is not a solution. Violence, in fact, creates more problems."
She also told protesters on Twitter, "Nonviolence is not weak or passive. Nonviolence is active and aggressive."
"It is strategic, with an ultimate goal. It seeks true peace, which = justice," she added. "Even if you disagree with it as a method for social change, I still hear you and love you. You are an answer and a solution."
On Sunday, Dr. King gave an interview with MSNBC and reflected on the nationwide protests. "The objectives of those truly protesting are directly connected to issues my father was addressing in the '50s and '60s," she said. "The issue is there is still two Americas: the America for black people and the America for white people."
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms echoed Dr. King's sentiments in her own emotional speech Saturday morning about the unrest in her city, telling her residents: "You're not honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. When you burn down this city, you’re burning down our community."
"You are disgracing this city, you are disgracing the life of George Floyd and every other person who has been killed in this country," she added. "We are better than this. We’re better than this as a city, we are better than this as a country."
On Sunday morning, people across the country gathered to volunteer to clean up cities after the nights of protests and looting.
The demonstrations first began last week when footage of Floyd surfaced online. Derek Chauvin, the officer involved in the incident, has been fired from his post and was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday.