PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – Protests have sprung up across the country in response to the recent acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin. The criminal legal system did not judge whether or not the death was caused by racial profiling, that’s now the job of civil law.
Dr. Alveda C. King is the niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and daughter of civil rights activist Reverend A. D. William King Sr. and Naomi Barber King. She is the Director of the African-American Outreach for Priests for Life.
She urges people to remember her families motto of judging by content of character, not by skin color, or clothing.
“We must advocate as Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated for defining ourselves by the content of our character rather than according to the color of our skin or our choice of attire,” said Dr. Alveda King, noted in a press release. “There are other ways to remember Dr. King, like his sermons and letters.”
In response to the recent Zimmerman verdict, artist Nikkolas Smith created a photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a black hooded sweatshirt. Dr. Alveda King was not angry or upset, she was sad.
“I’m sad, I’m not angry, I’m not upset, I’m not even agitated, but that the dialogue would be reduced to that and I’m hoping to talk to the young man because it shows the injustice of a 17-year-old being killed before he could live out his destiny,” said Dr. Alveda King. “The image shows no solution, and it does not show who Martin Luther King, Jr. was.”
She can trace her ancestors back as part African-American, part Irish, and part Native American. In her thoughts, “We are all one blood, we are all one race.”
When Martin Luther King, Jr. was growing up, Dr. Alveda King described a phrase his father used to tell him, “You represent Jesus, you represent your family, you represent your community.”
While examining the Trayvon Martin death and protests, Dr. Alveda King directs racial profiling as a sense of fear in people. She agrees that Zimmerman had reason to be suspicious, but she adds that Trayvon Martin also had reason to be fearful. The end of this court case has brought no one justice in her eyes. She adds that the Zimmerman family has been receiving violent threats.
“Racist words need to stop on both sides, and that comes from fear. When we fear someone of another race we think, ‘Oh you’re not my race, you’re not like me, you might hurt me so I better take care and protect myself,'” said Dr. Alveda King.
She pleads with the public that this whole circumstance is sad and tragic but instead of directing anger at those you don’t agree with, we should look to a higher place for love.
A Letter from a Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963, “One shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”