Opening Plenary Session With Dr. Bernice A. King
CSWE is pleased to announce that the 2023 APM will kick off with a plenary session featuring a moderated conversation with Dr. Bernice A. King.
Dr. King is a global thought leader, strategist, solutionist, orator, peace advocate, and CEO of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center For Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center), which was founded by her mother as the official living memorial to the life, work, and legacy of her father. In this position, Bernice continues to advance her parents’ legacy of nonviolent social change through policy, advocacy, research, as well as education and training through the Kingian philosophy of nonviolence, which she re-branded Nonviolence365™ (NV365).
Through her work at The King Center, she educates youth and adults around the world about the nonviolent principles and strategies modeled by her parents. Under her leadership, the Center has implemented numerous initiatives reaching over 500,000 people around the world, including the Beloved Community Leadership Academy, Students with King, NV365 Education & Training, and The Beloved Community Talks, a courageous conversations platform about the difficult racial and social justice issues impacting our world. Dr. King led the development of an NV365 certification program for trainers, which provides individuals with the opportunity to teach the NV365 curriculum on behalf of The King Center. She is an instructor for the program and a trainer.
Dr. King received both a Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Divinity (MDiv) Degrees from Emory University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Spelman College. From 1990–1992 she served as a law clerk for Judge Glenda Hatchett, the Chief Judge of The Fulton County Juvenile Detention Court. She served for seven years as an Assistant Pastor of Greater Rising Star Baptist Church in Atlanta where she organized and developed several new ministries. In 2007, she established the Be A King Scholarship in honor of her mother at Spelman College. Dr. King spearheaded the 2013 “Let Freedom Ring” event commemorating the 50th Anniversary of The March on Washington and her father’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The global event included President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, and President Jimmy Carter, members of Congress, as well as many other international leaders, dignitaries, and entertainers. In March 2018, Dr. King was fortunate to have a private audience with his holiness, Pope Francis. In 2020, she was influential in encouraging Atlanta Business leaders to actively support major racial equity and social justice issues, including the successful passage of Georgia's Hate Crime legislation.
Dr. King has received numerous awards and recognitions. In 2021, she received the Atlanta Business Chronicle Lifetime Achievement Award for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Additionally, The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation honored her in 2020 with their highest award, The Phoenix Award, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to society. She also received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Wesley College and Clinton College; an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Spelman College, and an honorary Doctor of Laws from Grinnell College. As a noted author, she has to her credit, “Hard Questions, Heart Answers,” as well as a children’s book entitled “It Starts with Me,” which is a part of The King Center’s Be Love movement.
She is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, admitted since 1992; a registered mediator through the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution; a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated (AKA), the International Women’s Forum (IWF), the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), and the 50th Anniversary class of Leadership Atlanta (2020); a board member of The King Center, The National Black Bank Foundation (NBBF), as well as Faith and Prejudice.
Dr. King is an innovative, inspirational, and transformational leader. She is dedicated to ensuring that her parents’ legacy and teachings, The King Center, as well as the work of creating the Beloved Community, with Nonviolence365 as the pathway, are introduced to new generations of influencers.