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HomeU.S.On King's holiday, daughter calls for bold action over words

On King’s holiday, daughter calls for bold action over words

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ATLANTA -- America has honored Martin Luther King Jr. with a federal holiday for nearly four decades yet still hasn’t fully embraced and acted on the lessons from the slain civil rights leader, his youngest daughter said Monday. The Rev. Bernice King, who leads The King Center in Atlanta, said leaders — especially politicians — too often cheapen her father’s legacy into a “comfortable and convenient King” offering easy platitudes. The service, sponsored by the center and held at Ebenezer annually, headlined observances of the 38th federal King holiday.

ATLANTA — America has honored Martin Luther King Jr. with a federal holiday for nearly four decades yet still hasn’t fully embraced and acted on the lessons from the slain civil rights leader, his youngest daughter said Monday.

The Rev. Bernice King, who leads The King Center in Atlanta, said leaders — especially politicians — too often cheapen her father’s legacy into a “comfortable and convenient King” offering easy platitudes.

“We love to quote King in and around the holiday. … But then we refuse to live King 365 days of the year,” she declared at the commemorative service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where her father once preached.

The service, sponsored by the center and held at Ebenezer annually, headlined observances of the 38th federal King holiday. King, gunned down in Memphis in 1968 as he advocated for better pay and working conditions for the city’s sanitation workers, would have celebrated his 94th birthday Sunday.

Her voice rising and falling in cadences similar to her father’s, Bernice King bemoaned institutional and individual racism, economic and health care inequities, police violence, a militarized international order, hardline immigration structures and the climate crisis. She said she’s “exhausted, exasperated and, frankly, disappointed” to hear her father’s words about justice quoted so extensively alongside “so little progress” addressing society’s gravest problems.

“He was God’s prophet sent to this nation and even the world to guide us and forewarn us. … A prophetic word calls for an inconvenience because it challenges us to change our hearts, our minds and our

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