Last month, Yolanda Renee King took the stage at the ‘March of Our Lives’ rally in Washingon DC to speak out against gun violence. “My grandfather had a dream that his four little children would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character… I have a dream that enough is enough, and that this should be a gun free world, period.”
Yolanda has been vocal about the fact that she believes there should be “no guns in this world.”
Read on to learn more about Yolanda Renee King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s 9-year-old granddaughter.
1. She Is the Eldest Granddaughter of MLK Jr.
Yolanda is the eldest granddaughter of MLK Jr.
She is the only child of Martin Luther King III and Andrea Waters King. King III has said he is proud of the anti-gun efforts led by so many students, and that he believes his father would be proud, as well. “I think he’d be disappointed with some of the discourse that we see [today] but he’d be very excited to see the high school student-led movements,” King said Wednesday. “He’d be very excited about the ‘Me Too’ movement. He’d be very excited about what Black Lives Matter is doing, all of these nonviolent movements. He would know that we as a nation can, must and will do better.”
Yolanda has taken advantage of her time in the spotlight; she has shared her experiences in school to help shed light on her opinions when it comes to gun reform. “On Friday, we did a lockdown drill. There are a few levels– there is one level for when there’s an explosion nearby… there’s a level if someone has a weapon and is at the school. We have to do all these lockdown drills because it’s unfortunate that people have guns. And people use them to hurt other people.”
2. She Believes Her Grandfather Would Realize We’re Not Where We Are Supposed to Be
Speaking on GMA on the 50th anniversary of her grandfather’s death, Renee said, “I think that he would be impressed about all the work that we’re doing but we’re not where we’re supposed to be.”
After delivering her speech close to where her grandfather delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, Yolanda led a chant. “Spread the word. Have you heard? All across the nation. We… are going to be. A great generation.” Yolanda wore an orange gun-violence ribbon pinned to her jacket as she inspired those in attendance.
Although she was able to rally the masses last month, Yolanda admits she had jitters stepping onto the stage in DC. “I was really nervous. My heart was beating… and then it just got faster and faster. But then when I got used to the crowd, I thought, ‘Oh, it’s not that bad!'”
3. She Spoke at the March of Our Lives Rally
Yolanda was one of a handful of students to speak at the March of Our Lives Rally to advocate for stricter gun control. Roughly 800,000 people attended the event.
Yolanda took the stage with high school student Jaclyn Corin, one of the leaders of the Never Again MSD activist movement. Corin, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Schools junior class president, was part of the school shooting on February 14. Her close friend, Joaquin Oliver, was killed in the attack.
In late-March, Corin penned an article for Seventeen Magazine about her efforts in organizing the “March For Our Lives” rally. She explains how she and a handful of other shooting survivors would meet in Cameron Kasky’s living room to discuss what to do. “…with each meeting, we’d invite a few more students to join us, until we had about 20 people at our meetings. And that was where the idea for March For Our Lives was born. From that moment on (with those former labels rapidly evaporating), I knew what my new label was, and that was ‘activist.'”
She explains that while it has been hard juggling March of Our Lives planning with press appearances, school, and more, it has all been well worth it. “Whenever I would get distracted about next steps during our conversations, I’d remember the 17 people that I’m fighting for and that pushed me forward. We’re so appreciative of the support that we’ve received from some very qualified adults — they have been our allies throughout all of this. But at the end of the day, this is our march and we have put so much time and energy into making it come to life.”
4. Her Mother Admits It Was Difficult to Let Her Daughter Step into the Spotligt
According to The Hill, Yolanda’s mother has admitted that it was a “difficult” decision to let her daughter step into the spotlight. The Hill quotes her as saying, “It was a bit difficult but because she has been so interested in the issue for so long and so passionate about it and wanted to do it, it was natural.”
Like her father-in-law and husband (and daughter), Andrea Waters King is a human rights activist and humanitarian. She currently serves as a board member for the Ethiopian aid organization, HEAL. She and King III tied the knot shortly after Coretta Scott King passed awaay.
5. She Was Invited to Meet President Obama at the Oval Office in 2016
Yolanda’s father has said that the fourth-grader was passionate about gun reform long before the Parkland shooting.
Speaking to CNN last week, King III said, “In 2016, President Obama invited us to see the bust of dad that was in the oval office, I think it’s still in the oval office… We asked her, my wife and I said, ‘Yolanda, you need to prepare a question for the president.’”
He continued, ““Back then she said, ‘Mr. President, what are you gonna do about these guns?’”
Yolanda, herself, told CNN that just a week ago that she had a dream abut her grandfather saying that he was always with her.