At the young age of 13, Yolanda Renee King is already following the footsteps of her late grandfather, Martin Luther King Jr., as an activist and speaker. She made headlines when she recently reflected on the importance of MLK Day, which honors King every third Monday in January since it became a federal holiday in 1986.
“MLK Day is not a day off. It should be treated as a day on. It’s a day of service. I think that instead of idolizing my grandfather, pick a service project and do something to help the community. It could be something as simple as picking up trash around your neighborhood park,” she said in an interview with NBC News.
In her speech, she also addressed such issues as civil rights, critical race theory, her grandfather’s dream, and how she has always wanted to help.
“There are even times my parents have told me about that I don’t even remember… for instance, every day, we would drive to school, and we would see homeless people,” she said. “When I was 3 or 4, I was already talking about them and asking, ‘What are we going to do to help?’”
She also stated that knowing that she came from an influential family made her want to use her voice more to address significant issues.
“Throughout my life, my parents have told me that ‘your family has done some really phenomenal work.’ And ‘you are the granddaughter of really phenomenal people who changed this country and the world,’” she said, “I didn’t really understand the significance of it until I got older.”