Rodney King’s name, unfortunately, is synonymous with the act of police brutality he endured at the hands of four Los Angeles Police Officers who’s acquittal led to the L.A. Riots of 1992. Now his daughter is looking to change that with a new program aimed to help Black fathers spend more time with their children.
Lora King, the 35-year-old daughter of unintentional Civil Right’s icon Rodney King announced on Monday (Apr 29) the launch of the “I am a King,” scholarship program. Its goal is to celebrate and empower African American fathers by giving them grants that will allow them to be in their children’s lives by spending time with them and taking them out for a day.
Speaking with USA Today, King had this to say about the program:
“We tend to downplay the attention a kid gets from a father, because mothers can be so dominant, but not having time with a father can be detrimental. Most of the time, fathers around here can’t take the time off because of funding. So I thought I could give them an outing without them worrying about whether they could keep the lights on that month.”
The program is open to African American fathers around the country and since it’s announced has raised over $10,000 with its most significant donation coming from an undisclosed technology entrepreneur. King is hoping that other corporate sponsors, as well as the public, will get on board and support the program.
Edna De Leon, who serves as educational director for Red Eye Inc. and is helping King screen applicants knows how big of a deal this program can be for Black parents who are struggling to make ends who wish they could take a day to spend time with their children but can’t afford it.
“Going to a museum with your child might seem easy for the average person, but here it’s not the narrative. Many people here are in a cycle, you’re working to pay for rent and food, and there’s no money for anything else. This program will help put the father in the spotlight as a hero.”
Lora King knows first hand about this as well being that her dad despite his problems following his trail and lawsuit settlement tried his best to be there for his daughter and feed her evergrowing mind’s curiosity as a young child.
“We would go to lots of art shows, he’d send me to leadership camps, and we even went to a lot of black rodeos together. It was normal for me because I was so young then. But looking back, I can tell that spending time with my father made a difference in the person I became.”
The announcement of the “I am A King” scholarship program comes on the 27th anniversary of the LA Riots of 92. Despite that, King would rather it be fittingly associated with Father’s Day. Her dad died on the day set aside to honor fathers seven years ago.
“June has always been tough for me since it’s the month my father died, but maybe now, between handing out the first grants then and the birth of my son, it will change. Your life, in the end, isn’t about how much money you have, but about how many lives you change. So, I’m honored to try.”
Salute to you, Queen.