CHAPEL HILL, N.C.(WNCN) – 2023 marks 60 years since. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.
“Is that dream fulfilled? Very quickly, we can easily say, obviously not. In fact, we probably are not in the vicinity of what he would have achieved,” said Martin Luther King III.
Joined by his wife and Reverend Al Sharpton, King III was in Chapel Hill Tuesday to call for the expansion for a reform of the Supreme Court and for the court to rule in favor of UNC Chapel Hill in an affirmative action lawsuit.
King III said his father’s dream can be realized by expanding the Supreme Court to 13 justices in the hopes of achieving better balance.
Recent accusations that Justice Clarence Thomas accepted luxury trips, King III said, shows the court needs ethics provisions, too.
“Dad talked about making America become the nation that it ought to be for all of her residents and that’s what our task is on this quest going around the country,” said King III.
King III and Sharpton have partnered to create the Just Majority campaign saying the Supreme Court has become too political and too powerful.
“The price was paid and the blood was shed too much for us to go backwards in terms of making this country fair,” said Sharpton.
He warned of the negative impacts if the Supreme Court rules against UNC. That decision is expected in the coming weeks.
The suit, filed by Students for Fair Admissions, claims UNC uses race as a defining factor for admissions and that race-neutral alternatives can be used to achieve diversity.
For UNC’s part, they argue their admissions process takes a holistic approach with race playing a meaningful role in just 1 percent of decisions.
“When people like Martin and Andrea[Waters King] and I go to a company and say, are you diverse? [They’ll say] Well we can’t keep that data because it is against the law now to judge by race. They will have undermined the entire movement of diversity in this country,” said Sharpton.
Students for Fair Admissions first sued UNC Chapel Hill in 2014. The group filed a similar suit against Harvard University which is also awaiting a ruling from the Supreme Court.
“The court’s ruling could harm the future education,” said Waters King.
Wife of King III, she said affirmative actions is about equal opportunity not special treatment.
“The court could wreak havoc on the ability of minority students to obtain an education that puts them on equal playing field with their peers,” she said.
For King III, this fight is about getting closer to his father’s dream.
“It does not mean we have not made progress. I will say that, but it certainly means we have got to work far more diligently to realize the dream,” he said.