Martin Luther King III and Arndrea Waters King delivered the keynote address at the Action Summit to Combat Online Hate, April 14 and 15. The son and daughter-in-law of the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. have both been deeply involved for many years in fighting racism, antisemitism and all forms of discrimination.
The summit was organized by the Canadian Coalition to Combat Antisemitism, an initiative of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, and funded by the Government of Canada.
King reflected on the legacy of Black-Jewish alliances in the civil rights movement and quoted his late father’s words: “Rabbis of Jewish congregations took their places on the frontlines as the Old and New Testament ethic of social justice flamed with a fire that had once transformed the world.”
King has worked in Israel and Palestine, educating young people to advance nonviolent resolutions to conflict.
“It was a wonderful experience and everywhere I went I experienced great hospitality and kindness from the people of Israel,” he said. “My father and mother, Coretta Scott King, were very concerned about the spread of antisemitism, racism and all forms of hatred, prejudice and bigotry, particularly among young people. Both of my parents made a commitment to doing everything that they could to help educate people about their shared vision for greater interracial understanding, cooperation and goodwill. Long after my father was assassinated, my mother continued to speak out against antisemitism and remain active in building the Black-Jewish coalition of social justice and human rights in Atlanta and throughout the world.”
Waters King worked for years at the Centre for Democratic Renewal, an organization that monitors and reports on hate groups, also delivering a broad range of educational programs to combat hate groups in the spirit of nonviolence that empowered the American civil rights movement.
“I have learned that the proponents of hate never sleep and our struggle against racism, antisemitism and all forms of bigotry and prejudice must remain ever-vigilant. What we can and must do is declare war on the ignorance that fuels hatred and the only known and proven cure for ignorance is education.”
King spoke about the advent of technologies over the past decades that hate groups have used to disseminate their messages. “But let’s remember that this communications revolution we have all lived through also gives us powerful tools to combat online hate,” he said.
The summit also featured keynote presentations by Katharina von Schnurbein, European Commission coordinator on combatting antisemitism, and Steven Guilbeault, federal minister of Canadian Heritage. More than three dozen others participated in two days of sessions, lectures, workshops and panel discussions. The Kings’ presentation is available online at actionsummit.ca.