12-Year-Old Yolanda Renee King at the March on Washington: "We Have Only Just Begun to Fight"
On Aug. 28, 12-year-old Yolanda Renee King gave a moving speech at the March on Washington on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the same spot where her grandfather Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his historic "I Have a Dream" speech exactly 57 years earlier in 1963. "Great challenges produce great generations. We have mastered the selfie and TikTok . . . Now we must master ourselves," King said during her speech. Despite her young age, King has made it a personal priority over the years to put social justice and equality first, using her voice as the descendant of one of America's most influential leaders to encourage positive reform.
"Less than a year before he was assassinated, my grandfather predicted this very moment," she said. "He said that we were moving into a new phase of the struggle. The first phase was for civil rights, and the new phase is a struggle for genuine equality." King continued her speech by stressing the negative influences of climate change, racism, police brutality, and gun violence on society and the urgent need for change.
"My generation has already taken to the streets — peacefully and with masks and social distancing — to protest racism," King continued. "And I want to ask the young people here to join me in pledging that we have only just begun to fight — and that we will be the generation that moves from me to we. We are going to be the generation that dismantles systemic racism once and for all, now and forever. We are going to be the generation that calls a halt to police brutality and gun violence once and for all, now and forever."
This year's March on Washington, which was led by Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III, saw thousands of participants gather in front of the Lincoln Memorial. In addition to King, other speakers included the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, and Jacob Blake, who echoed King's pleas for social justice and racial equality. Watch King's powerful speech here.