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Yolanda King

National Religious Leadership Roundtable
honors the memory of Yolanda King:
'Where Faith and Justice Meet'

May 24, 2007

WASHINGTON, May 24 — A memorial service for Yolanda King, the eldest child of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, was held today in Atlanta. Yolanda King, 51, collapsed and died last week. The National Religious Leadership Roundtable remembers her life and legacy.

Tributes from National Religious Leadership Roundtable Members

“As with her mother’s death, the passing of Yolanda King particularly touches those of us whose religious faith calls us to use our theological fervor as the starting point for our fever for justice. Yolanda King stood in the great tradition of her father, a person of faith who knew that love of God without love of neighbor was empty. She lived this in many arenas, including her support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender folk. May those of us who come after her be inspired by all she exemplified.”

— Rev. Rebecca Voelkel
Institute for Welcoming Resources

“The National Black Justice Coalition expresses its prayer-filled sympathies, thoughts and expressions of support to her surviving siblings, Martin Luther III, Dexter and Bernice King. Yolanda’s transition is a reminder of how short life on earth can be and should also serve as a catalyst for the continued push for civil rights for all people, including gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals. This too was Yolanda’s dream and journey and she expressed it beautifully as a motivational and inspirational speaker.”

— Sylvia Rhue, Ph.D.
Director of Religious Affairs and Constituency Development
National Black Justice Coalition

“From the crucible of the early civil rights era emerged Yolanda King. She embodied the best of her parents, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King, certain faith, unwavering commitment to fairness, inclusion and justice, as well as dignified strength. A powerful advocate, Yolanda wore the mantle of ‘drum major for justice’ and willingly stood with those on the margins of society, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and same-gender-loving people. The beauty and grace of her well-lived life inspires us to journey on toward the beloved community — welcoming all and denying none.”

— Rev. Cedric A. Harmon
Washington, D.C.

“It was my great privilege to attend Grady High School in Atlanta with Yolanda King, where she was known as ‘Yoki.’ I am very saddened to hear of her passing. The King family has served as an inspiration to all people of faith by speaking of the cause of justice for LGBT people as an extension of the civil rights movement.”

— Bob Gibeling
Member of the Roundtable Steering Committee

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