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Bernice King to gay people: ‘I’m not the enemy’

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Bernice King, the daughter of civil rights icons Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King, is interviewed in the August issue of Atlanta Magazine by noted author Rebecca Burns as part of her story on the minister and CEO of the King Center. The story and interview will be available online on Aug. 1 but is available now to subscribers of the magazine. Retailers will also be selling the magazine next week.

The story is a good read for those interested in the King family dynamic and drama in recent years and touches on and the tense relationships between Bernice King and her brothers Martin III and Dexter over the operations of the King Center and the MLK legacy itself.

Burns is author of "Burial for a King," the story of MLK's funeral in Atlanta in the midst of social and racial riots taking place across the country. At the end of her interview, she asks Bernice King specifically about her stance on gay issues.

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Podcast: Health and Fitness

GA Voice editor Laura Douglas-Brown was featured on AM 1690 | The Voice of the Arts this week in a bi-weekly segment highlighting upcoming arts and entertainment events and LGBT community news featured in our upcoming issue.

In this week's segment, Laura discusses our second annual Health and Fitness issue, Bernice King's surprise speech at Atlanta's MLK Day rally, the ongoing financial crisis at YouthPride and more.

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Bernice King’s gay-inclusive speech at MLK rally surprises LGBT participants

Bernice King took the stage today at Atlanta’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. rally and included gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people among the various groups she said need to come together to fulfill her father's legacy.

In a passionate, sermon-like speech about building unity, King said she didn't care if people were Hindu, Buddhist, Islamist, were from the North side or the South side, were black or white, were “heterosexual or homosexual, or gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender” — that all people were needed to create unity.

LGBT people who attended the rally said they were shocked that King – who has a long anti-gay past — actually acknowledged the community in a public speech, but said they were also glad because it shows people can evolve.

Rev. Maressa Pendermon, a minister with LGBT-inclusive Unity Fellowship Church, said she at first intended to tune out King because of her anti-gay past, but decided to pay attention one more time.

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Bernice King confirms she is no longer a member of New Birth

On the heels of Bishop Eddie Long's settlement with four young men who sued him for alleged sexual coercion, Bernice King confirmed Tuesday that she is leaving New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

"I know there has been lots of speculation and comments about my departure from New Birth," King told radio host Rhodell Lewis on Praise 102.5 FM. King is the daughter of the late Martin Luther King Jr. and late Coretta Scott King.

"Let me start by just clarifying to let all your listeners and others who may be listening in that ...  after eight years and eight months my last Sunday as a member of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church was this past Sunday," King said.