Yolanda Renee King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s 12-Year-Old Granddaughter, Gave a Powerful Speech at the March on Washington

Starr Bowenbank
·2 mins read
Photo credit: JACQUELYN MARTIN - Getty Images
Photo credit: JACQUELYN MARTIN - Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

Approximately 57 years ago to the day, Dr. Martin Luther King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington. In his speech, he called for the end of racism and economic injustices against Black Americans. All these years later, Dr. King’s message is still relevant as Black people are fighting for their lives. As a result, multiple organizations joined forces to March on Washington this year in a call for justice.

At the March, families who lost loved ones through police brutality spoke, in addition to Dr. King’s son, Martin Luther King III. But before King III took the podium, he allowed his daughter—12-year-old activist Yolanda Renee King—to share a few words with the audience.

“My generation has already taken to the streets—peacefully and with masks and social distancing—to protest racism,” she said. “And I want to ask the young people here to join me in pledging that we have only just begun to fight—and that we will be the generation that moves from me to we.”

Yolanda said that while she and the rest of the country couldn’t predict the pandemic, an attack on our right to vote, and a devastating economic crisis, she believes this will only make us even stronger. “Great challenges produce great generations. We have mastered the selfie and TikTok...Now we must master ourselves,” she said.

“Less than a year before he was assassinated, my grandfather predicted this very moment,” she continued. “He said that we were moving into a new phase of the struggle. The first phase was for civil rights and the new phase is a struggle for genuine equality.”

Before concluding her speech, Yolanda shouted out her grandfather and vowed to uphold his mission: “Papa King, we won’t forget.”

Watch Yolanda’s speech in full below.

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