MLK’s assassination reminds nation of unaddressed gun violence

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MLK’s assassination reminds nation of unaddressed gun violence

The 50th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination is sadly a searing reminder of unaddressed gun violence in America. And, because gun violence has gone unaddressed for half a century, future generations of children residing in a safer and healthier America MLK spoke about so dreamingly in his speeches now in 2018 live in fear of guns -when they are not running scared for their lives from them.

During the “March for Our Lives” student-led demonstration demanding safer gun laws that took place in Washington, D. C. last month, one of the surprise guest speakers was nine-year-old Yolanda Renee King, granddaughter of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Like the hundreds of thousands of children and teens who came to the nation’s capital with the mission to end school shootings, Yolanda Renee King told the audience, “My grandfather had a dream that his four little children will not be judged by the color of the skin, but the content of their character.” Standing on stage alongside one of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors, Yolanda continued sharing her dream with the crowd.“I have a dream that enough is enough. And that this should be a gun-free world, period.”

As I watched King’s cherubic-looking granddaughter deliver her speech to a cheering crowd, I nearly cried realizing Yolanda never met her grandfather, because a bullet shortened his life leaving us all wondering how long he might have lived.

King wrote in his “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” in April 1963 that “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly…. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” In 2018, no one could have fathomed the number one issue all American school-age children face is an epidemic of school shootings- whether in wealthy suburbs like Newtown and Parkland or urban cities like Chicago and Baltimore. Gun violence is killing our children, and gun reform continues to be that hot-bottom issue as a country we can’t seem to budge on.

It was a similar problem 50 years ago.

Just two months after King’s death in April with a nation still in mourning New York Senator and then-presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in June. His brother, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated five years earlier in November 1963. Immediately following JFK’s assassination, King told, his executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Andrew Young, Jr.:“Guns are going to be the death