ATLANTA ( Associated Press) — Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter used an address Monday to push for federal voting rights legislation and slammed “false narratives under the banner of critical race theory.”
The Rev. Bernice King said there is a “much urgent need” for the voting law, and it is “important to humanity around the world that the United States stands as a democratic nation.” His remarks came ahead of a scheduled visit Tuesday to Georgia by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to talk about voting rights.
“I also know that there are many people who are unfortunately not immediately concerned about it,” King said at the King Center in Atlanta to announce upcoming holiday events in honor of his father. “For some there is an air of discontent and for others a wave of nostalgia that has settled in the hearts and minds of a growing number of people not only in the United States, but throughout the world.”
Voting legislation backed by Democrats is currently on hold in the US Senate due to Republican opposition, and the party is attempting to change the chamber’s rules to pass it. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y., has set Jan. 17 the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday as the deadline to pass voting legislation or consider revising the rules. King said he is disappointed with the lack of progress on voting rights, but believes the law will pass and urged dialogue with Republicans.
“It’s not just a black issue,” she said. “It’s an issue about democracy.”
King also addressed critical race theory, a way of thinking about America’s history that centers On the idea that racism is organized into the institutions of the nation and that they serve to maintain the dominance of white people in society. Republican-controlled states have enacted it into legislation restricting how race can be taught in public schools, and it has become a lightning rod for the GOP.
He said the nation needs a change in priorities that “helps us understand that we can’t remember our fathers on one hand, while perpetuating false narratives under the banner of critical race theory.”
He said: “CRT is not the problem. Racism is the problem, poverty or extreme materialism is the problem and militarism, war is the problem.”