Meet Dr. Bernice A. King
Today we honor the legacy of non-violence Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lived and died for. One of the shining beacons of that legacy is his daughter, Bernice King.
On a mission to uphold his name while making her own, she is creating a more just and humane world for us all.
Dr. Bernice A. King is a 56-year-old icon both on social and IRL. She’s a global thought leader, world-renowned speaker, and prominent advocate of peace & non-violence.
Bernice is also the CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, founded by her mother.
Bernice was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in March of 1963 as the youngest child of MLK Jr. and Corretta Scott King.
Her father was shot and killed in Memphis, TN, in 1968 when Bernice was only 5 years old. His funeral was held at the same church where he had been a pastor.
From the get-go, she was her father’s daughter.
Bernice followed in his footsteps and pursued the ministry. She received her Master of Divinity and a Doctorate of Law from Emory University in 1990 and was later given an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity by Wesley College.
Call her Dr. King, call her Reverend King, but in interviews, Bernice says, “just call me Bernice.”
Though she is obviously the embodiment of her father in many ways, she’s also her own woman. And a HELLUVA powerful one at that.
Let’s dive into some of her achievements.
As the CEO of The King Center, in Jan of this year Bernice launched Nonviolence365 Online Workplace Edition Training, a shortened edition of the NV365 Online Masterclass training she *already* designed for businesses looking to expand their DEI& Belonging training infrastructure.
As a cherished storyteller, she’s spoken at the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, and universities and churches across the nation. Through her massive following on Twitter & Facebook, Bernice continues to preach and teach us how to lead with an ethic of peace & non-violence.
In May of 2021, Bernice was named to the Board of Directors of the National Black Bank Foundation. On her nomination, she said, “The NBBF is committed to correcting a legacy of discrimination in banking that still ruthlessly excludes Black, brown and indigenous people.”
Beyond being the CEO of The King Center, sitting on many companies’ advisory boards, And touring the world as a beloved speaker and leader in fighting racism (all while interpreting the narrative on her socials), Bernice is also dabbling in you guessed it…fintech.
Discrimination between the housing and banking sectors is an issue that Bernice has long been serious about influencing.
So, she teamed up with Ashley Bell last year to change the mortgage loan industry with an all-new Fintech platform: Ready Life.
Ready Life offers a way to homeownership that excludes credit scores from eligibility requirements. The platform’s goal is to make financial services and home ownership accessible & equitable for all.
Talk about a fintech that is working to serve the people.
As stated, Ready Life goes beyond housing services. It consists of a whole suite of products and tools, including 3 major offerings:
• Ready Pay – Visa Debit Card
• Ready Mortgage – Mortgage lending, NO credit score required
• Ready Merchant – Merchant Payment Services
Bernice views Ready Life’s mission as continuing her father’s mission to fight poverty and inequality. In her words, “I believe that Ready Life can help rectify decades of discrimination in the area of homeownership by helping to remove unnecessary barriers.”
Beyond the org’s mission, Bernice King has long spoken of the deep connection between racism, poverty, and our economic system.
By challenging institutions like the credit system, She is tangibly giving power back to Black & Brown communities and truly dismantling oppression.
Though we honor Bernice on MLK Day, we must honor her & her family every day.
Anti-racism work is inherently important to fighting for economic justice and equity. Without centering voices like Bernice’s in conversations that pertain to deeply prejudiced systems, we can’t win.
“The work is here.
The work is offline.
The work is online.
The work is internal.
The work is external.
The work is in the streets.
The work is in C-suites.
The work is in advocacy.
The work is in art.
The work is local.
The work is global.
The work is wherever we are.”
Did you enjoy reading about Bernice King’s legacy and how she’s paving her own way in fintech? Sign up for my newsletter Fintech is Femme for more profiles on the women shaping society for the better in this industry & beyond.