ML King Day activities to emphasize voters and nonviolence

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Bernice King, daughter of slain civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., speaks about a series of events to be held in and around The King Center, on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, in Atlanta. The events commemorating the birth of civil rights icon center around social justice, non-violence seminars and voter education.

ATLANTA — ATLANTA (AP) — As the nation prepares for the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday amid a “dire” election year, the Atlanta center named for him will offer nonviolence training, voter registration and visits from politicians, entertainers and sports figures, King’s daughter said Thursday.

The impeachment of President Donald Trump and a tumultuous climate in the United States make this year's commemorative event all the more crucial, Bernice King told reporters.


"This is an election year. For many people this is a dire election year," she said. "And I say that on both sides of the equation. Both sides of the aisle."

"We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now," she added, echoing a phrase her father employed in landmark 1967 sermon. Voter registration will take place at the series of events, as well as a demonstration of the workings of new voting machines, in hopes of encouraging voting and reducing wait times at voting sites.


The activities will be held at and around The King Center, from Jan. 10-20, in the neighborhood where the civil rights champion lived. Events include a two-day nonviolence workshop to educate and train others in the protest method that King employed, and a K-12 event focused on celebrating the differences in people.

The Atlanta events also include a "day of service" at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Jan. 18 in honor of King, who was pastor of the church until he was assassinated in 1968.

Politicians, entertainers and sports figures are expected to attend various events, Bernice King said. Visitors to The King Center will also be able to take part in a new “digital footsteps journey,” she said. It’s an interactive display where visitors walk on a path connected to software that reveals the energy they generated with each step, and shows the various devices that energy could power.