Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece is criticizing the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson for politicizing the Trayvon Martin shooting and leveraging racial tensions to rile up Americans.
Conservative activist Dr. Alveda King, now the director of African-American outreach at Priests for Life and the founder of King For America, said she hopes Sharpton and Jackson stop “stirring up the people without positive solutions” in Sanford, Fla., and elsewhere in the U.S.
“I would believe that, by stirring up all of the emotions and reactions, I wanted to encourage them to remember the man that they say that they followed, to remember that his message was nonviolence and very loving,” King told The Daily Caller, referencing her late uncle. She added that she wanted to encourage Jackson and Sharpton “to talk about nonviolence and not to incite people with that race card that they are very good at playing.”
“Nonviolence was a very important part of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr,” she added. “So, we want to encourage people to be nonviolent in their responses, to be thorough in their research and that justice must be done…We want justice to come, but we want nonviolent responses to this really tragic and terrible incident.”
King hasn’t made up her mind about the facts of this case and who is responsible for what, but believes there should be a full investigation. She told TheDC that she agrees with former Republican presidential candidate and businessman Herman Cain, however, who has asked for a full investigation instead of “swirling rhetoric.”
“I believe that it should be thoroughly investigated,” she told TheDC. “I believe that it should be discovered whether there was undue force. If Trayvon did work to defend himself, he was not armed and so that is an unfair fight right there. Trayvon was not armed and the man who shot him was. So there is a possibility of undue force.” (RELATED: Full coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting)
She said her heart goes out to Trayvon Martin’s family and she understands what they’re going through. “I’m very concerned about Trayvon’s family,” King said. “I’m praying as well, and many members of my family are as well… Several of us have experienced death of family members by shooting.”
“My grandmother, Mama King, Alberta Williams King, was shot in Ebenezer Baptist Church,” King continued. “My uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., of course, was shot. And, then, my dad [Alfred Daniel Williams King] was killed the next year, drowned in a swimming pool. So, we are not unfamiliar with these kinds of shocks and tragedies to a family. And, so, my first thought is to pray for the family.”
King hopes Americans won’t continue to “hype this up so much to a point and make all this big demonstrations. Of course, there should be an outrage and there should be an outcry. But, remember: There are many other young people who are at risk and many young people getting killed in violent situations.”
She said if her father, A.D. King, and uncle, Martin Luther King Jr., were still alive today, they would handle this tragedy much differently from how Sharpton and Jackson have so far.
“I remember when our home was bombed, and my dad went out to the people and he said, ‘please don’t riot, please don’t react violently, my family and I are alright,’” King said. “’If you have to hit anybody, hit me. So please, I’d rather you be nonviolent and don’t strike out.’ So, my uncle would urge a call for justice but he would also urge nonviolence in responses. He would do that, I can assure you he would.”