Martin Luther King III and his daughter, 12-year-old Yolanda
The son of Martin Luther King Jr. and current Global Human Rights Leader, and his daughter, 12-year-old Yolanda, sent a message in Spanish to the community. Screenshot 'Un Nuevo Dia'

In an exclusive live interview on Telemundo’s “Un Nuevo Día,” Martin Luther King III, and his 12-year-old daughter, Yolanda King, reacted to the protests that have unfolded throughout the country as a result of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

From his home in Atlanta, the global human rights leader and son of the civil rights leader and activist Martin Luther King Jr., responded to a series of questions from Francisco Cáceres, in which he was joined by his daughter, who is also continuing her grandfather's legacy.

"The protests over the death of George Floyd heated up over the weekend. Although the officer who kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes is already facing third-degree murder charges, protesters of every race gathered from coast to coast, looking to end racial discrimination in the United States. Some of the protests began peacefully but ended violently," said Cáceres.

"The arrest of the officer who took George Floyd’s life wasn’t enough to ease the racial tensions in the United States. An echo of indignation was heard in the streets throughout the country, demanding the end of police brutality towards the African American community, and the arrest of the other three Minneapolis Police Officers who didn’t do anything to stop what happened.

Protests all over the nation were held throughout the weekend. However, systemic racism against the African American community has been ongoing for over 400 years of history that include slavery, limitations on their constitutional rights, and racial segregation.

According to political scientists, this weekend’s protests were the largest registered since the one in 1968 when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated for being the leader of the civil rights movement. There have been many cases like his, and the numbers don’t lie. Studies reveal that one in every 1000 African American dies at the hands of the police. That’s 2.5% more than white people. Since 2015 until now, more than 1200 African American deaths have occurred because of the police," he continued. Cáceres also said that this is a "sad and alarming reality that continues."

The Telemundo's TV host and producer continued the conversation with human rights activist, Martin Luther King III, and his daughter Yolanda.

Mr. King, I’d like to begin with you. Your father died fighting for equal rights for black Americans in 1968. How do you feel when you see that in 2020 African Americans like George Floyd are still dying in the hands of the police?

I feel beyond devastated. And my father would feel that we should be further along than we are as a nation. This behavior should’ve been put way behind us, and it keeps re-emerging over and over again.

We should be further along. Sir, we’ve been seeing protests around the country. Most have been peaceful, but some have turned violent. And in the middle of all this, we’ve been hearing your father’s quote, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” How do you explain that quote to your daughter so that she can understand why these protests sometimes turn violent?

Well, my daughter, and she can speak for herself, has seen this type of behavior, unfortunately, since she was born. She’s 12 years old, and we have to always talk about how we address these conflicts through love and non-violence. And that’s what my father and mother taught us. And so, she is beginning to understand. It’s frustrating to her. It’s humiliating for all of us, but we are far better than the behavior that we are seeing throughout this crisis as a nation.

I know that you can’t be 100% sure as to what your father would think in this time, but do you think he would be proud of these protests or saddened that more than 50 years later, they’re still happening?

He would be proud of those who have chosen to protest through the nonviolent tradition, which I believe are far more the majority. I think there are elements that have infiltrated, anarchists and others, who are causing some of this destruction, but he would be very disappointed that even to this point we are having to do this. As I said, we should be far beyond this. We are a better nation than the behavior we are exhibiting. But we got to find ways to get communicators who communicate messages of unity and not disunity.

Yolanda, I understand you speak Spanish. As Martin Luther King Jr.’s granddaughter, what message would you give to other children your age to end racism in the world?

My grandfather spoke of different levels of love. I am only going to speak about one, and it’s called agape. It’s about love others whether they are old, not old, babies, whites, African Americans, Latinos, Asians... it doesn’t matter. We need more love because we’re all human and this is very important. Kids need to know that we need to have love for all. It doesn’t matter what someone looks like, what they like, or what they don’t like. We need to help each other to change this world, and in order to help each other, we need to love one another.

I’d like to ask you, Mr. King. In the middle of these protests, President Trump has used words that have been historically condemned by Civil Rights groups. He tweeted, “when the looting begins, the shooting begins.” How do you rate the president’s response to these protests?

I believe that the response thus far has appeared to be tone-deaf. When people are engaged in violence, you don’t generally give a message to encourage and stoke violence. Those words seemed to evoke and stoke violence, not talk about how do we deescalate, and how do we come together to make this nation what it ought to be. I think it’s unfortunate this is the way he chooses to communicate all the time, so it’s not unexpected. It’s very sad. I hope that he reaches into the depths of his heart and has some compassion. He certainly should be speaking to the nation every day during this crisis, and not speak in a message of disunity. Yes, you have to get control, but there’s a way to do it without being destructive and stoking violence, which is what some people would interpret the words that he states.

I also want to ask you about your father’s most famous speech, in which he said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” More than 50 years later, where would you say we are in the process of getting to your father’s dream?

I would have to say that elements of my father’s dream have been achieved. We passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, fair housing legislation. But then on one front, we still have a long way to go. He wanted to get rid of, in our society, three major forces. And he called them, getting our society rid of poverty, racism, and violence. He said militarism. We still have a long way to go before we eradicate racism, before we address poverty, and before we address violence. But these are all things that can be addressed. And I think if my father lived, all of those would’ve been addressed in a constructive way.

I wanted to ask you: What can regular people who are watching this do to be a part of the solution to this problem?

I think number one, the first thing that people want to see... There were other officers in Minnesota, they want to see them charged. I think the Minneapolis Police Department needs to be investigated because there are several charges against these officers and others, so an independent investigation needs to happen. I think what all of us have to do is, we have to vote. We have to organize, we have to mobilize. We have to elect different people to office. And everybody can participate at that level. And I think those of us who are protestors in a nonviolent way, must come out and continue to protest. I think the nation and the world are hearing us. I believe there will be changes. I hope dramatic changes, and it does not have to come through violence, although I do understand those who use violence. I don’t condone violence, but I do understand.

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