MLK's grand­child Yolanda hosts in­spir­ing group of child ac­tivists

South Florida Times - - NATION - By R.J. RICO

AT­LANTA - Martin Luther King Jr.'s grand­daugh­ter hosted an in­spir ing group of chil­dren who called on their peers Saturday to fol­low the civil rights leader's ex­am­ple and en­gage in community out­reach.

Three days af­ter the 50th an­niver­sary of King's as­sas­si­na­tion, about 200 peo­ple gath­ered at an At­lanta event hosted by Yolanda Re­nee King, 9, and Maryn Rippy, 7, the great-grand­daugh­ter of King's brother, A.D. King.

Child ac­tors Hud­son Yang from ABC's “Fresh Off the Boat'' and Storm Reid from the film “A Wrin­kle in Time” in­ter­viewed about a dozen f ea­tured guests from across the coun­try.

The hon­orees in­cluded McKenzie Walker, a 14-year-old Dal­las singer who used the pro­ceeds from her CD to help or­phans; Joshua Wil­liams, a 17-year-old who has spent years lead­ing food drives in South Florida; and Amariyanna Copeny, a 10-year-old girl who has earned the nick­name “Lit­tle Miss Flint” be­cause of the at­ten­tion she has brought to the water cri­sis in her home­town of Flint, Michi­gan.

“Young peo­ple re­ally have a lot of power,” said Margeaux Drucker, 12, who, along with her younger brother, teaches her peers about the lessons of the civil rights move­ment. “We can be the change we want to see in the world.”

A.J. Carr, 15, is an ac­tor on Show­time's “The Chi” who two years ago founded a youth lead­er­ship and en­trepreneur­ship or­ga­ni­za­tion called “Build­ing Bosses,” in Madi­son, Wis­con­sin.

Carr chal­lenged the au­di­ence, es­pe­cially the adults, to reach out to young peo­ple who might ap­pear lost.

“Tell them, ‘Hello, how are you do­ing? Do you need any­thing?' Be­cause that could be the only com­pas­sion they've ever f elt in their lif e,” Carr said.

One of the au­di­ence mem­bers, Nia McKenzie, 14, of nearby East Point took a photo with Carr af­ter the event. Af­ter hear­ing Carr's and the other guest's sto­ries, McKenzie said she felt “in­spired to take ac­tion.”

“He's is around my age and do­ing a lot to help peo­ple in his community, so I feel like I can do that too,” McKenzie said.

Two of the civil rights icon's chil­dren, Ber­nice King and Martin Luther King III, also were in at­ten­dance and praised the com­mit­ment to so­cial jus­tice on dis­play. King III pointed out that high school stu­dents held an im­por­tant role in spear­head­ing the civil rights move­ment decades ago.

“It is ex­cit­ing to see th­ese young peo­ple not fol­low­ing, but lead­ing,'' King III said, cit­ing the re­cent gun-con­trol march led by the sur­vivors of a Florida high school shoot­ing. “This is an in­ter­est­ing time: Some might say we're di­vided, but yet some­how we're com­ing to­gether.”

PHO­TOS COUR­TESY OF YOUTUBE.COM

Yolanda Re­nee King, Martin Luther King Jr. Grand­daugh­ter

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