Be A King "Raising The Standard For The Kingdom of God"
Words From An Article Published In The Central Michigan Life Newspaper

Rev. Bernice A. King said she wants people to decide to be either a thermometer or a thermostat.

“You can accept the environment, even though it disturbs you, or you can change and adjust it,” King said. “A king is a thermostat. They set the atmosphere.”

King, the daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., visited the campus Thursday night as the keynote speaker for MLK Week.

Students packed into Warriner Hall’s Plachta Auditorium to listen to King speak about current societal problems.

Maureen Eke, associate vice president of diversity and international education, introduced King as a member of the State Bar of Georgia, minister and renowned orator who spoke in front of the United Nations when she was 17-years-old.

“That’s really brave,” Eke said. “We’re really fortunate to have someone who is so closely related to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as our keynote speaker.”

While young people admire her father, King said they needed to become leaders themselves.

“The answer’s not found in looking for another Martin Luther King. The reality is we’ve missed the most important thing and that is the notion of being a king,” she said. “In a kingdom, the king is the absolute ruler. So to be a king really means to be one who has influence.”

She urged the audience to use this influence to improve their own lives and the lives of others.“God never intended for black people to be segregated from white people,” King said. “God never intended for there to be a lower class, a middle class and an upper class. My message to you this evening is it’s time to raise the standard in your life.”

She said she believes young people have become complacent in society.

She also said self-consumption and worldly cares have brought the younger generation into a dangerous place, and money is the primary cause. This is especially true for college students who worry about student loans and debt.

“You enter into a cycle of control and slavery,” King said. “You never live to fulfill your dreams because you’re caught in a cycle. Now, most of us are slaves. We end up working for somebody else the rest of our lives and we’re frustrated.”

She acknowledged temptations CMU students might face in Mount Pleasant.

“You were taught, perhaps like I was taught, not to fool with things like lottery and casinos – not knockin’ y’all,” she said.

King said society can improve global conditions if each person demands the best of him or herself.

“It’s only going to take kings who are determined to raise the standard,” she said. “We should be driven by selflessness.”

The United States might lose its place as a world power if the country continues to harbor racism, poverty and militarism, King said.

Mount Pleasant graduate student Matt Darden said her speech was important for diversity education on campus.

“I think people should be more involved in learning about inter-race relations and that they should just immerse themselves in other cultures,” he said.

Written By Lindsay Wahowick

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