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Son Of Martin Luther King Jr. Says His Father's Work Is Unfinished

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White House
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Martin Luther King Jr.

The oldest son of Martin Luther King Jr. said Monday he hopes the new year and a new presidential administration will bring the U.S. closer to fulfilling the late civil rights leader's dream of a more just world. Martin Luther King III spoke during a program recorded for McCrorey YMCA of Charlotte's 27th annual King holiday celebration.

"While we are not where we need to be around achieving freedom, justice and equality for all humankind, we have an opportunity to start anew," King said in a ceremony held virtually this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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McCrorey YMCA
Martin Luther King III spoke during McCrorey YMCA's 27th annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.

The McCrorey YMCA event was one of several scheduled around the city. A virtual King Family Day hosted by the Levine Museum of the New South was scheduled to starts at 6 pm.

During a question-and-answer session with business and community leaders, King said changes must continue in government, business, health care, education and other institutions. He called for an end to economic disparities that come from a lack of resources for Black businesses and redlining that forces people of color to pay more for insurance and other services.

"It really revolves around the word racism, and how we end racism once and for all. Racism is deadly. And it is doing more harm, far more harm, and always has done harm to our society. But what I do believe is we have a capacity to address it," he said.

King said the education system must be restructured, "because our history is taught from a Western and European perspective. And that excludes Black folk, that excludes Native Americans, that excludes Latino and Hispanic Americans. So we've got to change all of that, and become far more inclusive."

King also called for efforts to rebuild trust in the health care system among African Americans, especially during the pandemic.

He also addressed the aging of the country's Black leaders, whom he said are sometimes reluctant to step aside for a younger generation of activists.

"We really do need to build new leadership, work with them, and And ideally, pass the torch," King said. "We're not doing enough leadership training. And quite frankly, today, we see young people who are engaged and doing wonderful work."

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