King Family Reaffirms Dr. King’s Message After Jacksonville Hate Crime

King Family Reaffirms Dr. King’s Message After Jacksonville Hate Crime

The 60th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 March on Washington and legendary “I Have a Dream” speech was marred by the recent racist mass shooting against Black people in Jacksonville, Florida.

The family of the slain civil rights leader commemorated the March on Washington by decrying the continued racial hatred in the United States. King’s son Martin Luther King III called out the “unconscionable” and “unacceptable” hate crimes against minorities as well as the overturning of Roe v Wade.

Standing alongside his 15-year-old daughter Yolanda Renee King, the son of the civil rights legend said she has fewer rights today than when she was born.

“The Voting Rights Act was struck down in 2013, women’s reproductive rights were struck down in 2022, affirmative action was struck down in 2023–so she has fewer rights,” he TOLD CNN.

Yolanda shared the apology she would have for her late grandfather if he were still alive today.

“I would say I’m sorry we still have to be here to rededicate ourselves to finishing your work and ultimately realizing your dream,” she said.

“Today, racism is still with us. Poverty is still with us. And now, gun violence has come for places of worship, our schools, and our shopping centers.”

Their speech came a day after a massive commemorative event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. where about 250,000 people celebrated the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington. President Joe Biden also invited all of King’s children and surviving organizers of the original march to a commemorative reception in the Oval Office on Monday, August 28.

But as celebrations commemorating the historic march took place, a white man fatally shot three Black people in Jacksonville, Florida, in a conscious racist attack that’s being investigated as a hate crime, CNN reports.

“We must be clear, it was not just racially motivated, it was racist violence that has been perpetuated by rhetoric and policies designed to attack Black people, period,” Florida State Rep. Angie Nixon said.

The shooter, identified as Ryan Palmeter, 21, gunned down three Black people while wearing a mask and firing at least one weapon emblazoned with a swastika, the Associated Press  reports. The shooting took place at a Dollar General store in New Town, a predominantly Black neighborhood of Jacksonville.

Palmeter visited a nearby HBCU prior to the shooting to change his clothes. Authorities say it does not appear that he intended to attack the school.

The loss of the victims, Angela Michelle Carr, 52, A.J. Laguerre, 19, and Jerrald Gallion, 29, echo exactly what MLK was fighting for when he led the March on Washington 60 years ago.

“Yesterday we saw the hate. It unfortunately demonstrated where we are compared with 1963, and the answer is–not far at all,” MLK III’s wife, Arndrea Waters King, said.

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