BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. — Dr. Bernice King, the daughter of slain civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was in Arkansas on Friday at the Nonviolence Youth Summit at Blytheville High School. 

The 2022 Nonviolence Youth Summit sponsored by the Arkansas MLK Commission focused on reaching youngsters with a message of tolerance.

“We’re trying to instill in our students the understanding that there is a different way to problem solve issues, that there is a way for us to communicate and for us to resolve conflict that is not harmful, that is not hurtful,” said Veronica Perkins, superintendent of the Blytheville School District.

During the event, hundreds of elementary students lined up to get an autographed copy of Dr. Bernice King’s book, “It Starts with Me.”

King co-wrote the book with Dr. Kimberly Johnson, who was also on hand. King says the book presents a message of unity in a way that’s easy for youngsters to grasp.

“In your everyday actions you can bring love to the world, to change the world, to address injustice, to bring kindness and to help us build a beloved community. That’s why we titled it “It Starts With Me,” she said.

King says the opportunity to make a lasting impressions on these high school and elementary students was a way to keep her father’s message of equality shining brightly.

“I think it’s important to reach communities that often times are not reached by people like me, that are smaller communities across our nation, especially in the South where my father did most of his work, and so I’m glad to be in Blytheville, Arkansas,” she said.

The Nonviolence Youth Summits are held annually in Arkansas. This was the first time Blytheville was selected to host the event.