'King Fliers' Spark Outrage on Holiday

Local teens choose 'day of service' in spite of fliers depicting King image


By Monique Williams

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) -- As hundreds stepped through city streets to the State House to celebrate the national holiday recognizing the birth, life and legacy of civil rights giant, Martin Luther King, Jr., some local teens decided to turn negative images of King into a positive day of service.

Marchers of today relived marches of yesterday and that of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Monday.

"His birthday provides us a moment to stop and reflect," said Interim President and CEO of the NAACP, Lorraine Miller. She and other notable speakers lead a crowd of young, old, black and white through downtown Columbia for a rally at the State house. Speakers urged the crowd to keep fighting for what they call ongoing inequality regarding wages, education, human rights, civil liberties and voting issues.

"Our children should be enjoying the milestone of civil rights but it would seem time has stood still," said Jackie Hicks, president of the South Carolina Education Association.

"Those who love freedom and justice are called to take this nation from the low lands of injustice to higher ground," said keynote speaker and president of the North Carolina State conference NAACP, Dr. William Barber.

While the masses celebrate in the streets of Columbia and at the state capitol, a smaller, more intimate group of folks are choosing to honor the life of Dr. King in their own way.

Across town, there was a demonstration designed specifically to combat what many see as negative images of King on twerking party fliers that went viral on social media and sparked outrage. The fliers depict King's face on someone else's body draped in gold chains, rings, a crown and doing hand gestures. The images, targeting teens, prompted Melody Williams to host what she dubbed 'MLK Teen Day of Service.'

"We need to find something positive for them to get into," said Williams.

Young folks learned about the icon and collected coats and food for the needy, proving no matter your age, Dr. King's holiday offers an opportunity for service to the community.

"The fliers are an absolute shame," said one teenager.

"If [Dr. King] were alive," said another teenager, "he wouldn't like it."

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