Lora King was only seven years old when her father Rodney King was violently beaten by members of the Los Angeles Police Department on March 3, 1991.
After footage of the brutal beatings was captured by a civilian and made its rounds on news channels around the world, the officers in question were tried on charges of excessive force and in the hours after their acquittals, the 1992 Los Angeles riots started in response. Now, nearly three decades after King's story became an integral part of the ongoing fight against police brutality, his daughter has launched a new scholarship in his name.
The "I Am A King" scholarship program aims to honor Rodney King's life and legacy of bringing people together, specifically by providing African American fathers with financial assistance so that they can "spend a day doing fun, family-building activities with their children."
King, who launched the Rodney King Foundation for Social Justice and Human Rights in 2016, explained how her father remains the driving force behind the work she does.
"As long as I continue to follow my vision, he will always be represented," she shared with the Los Angeles Times. "I want to help build up what was burnt down."
Per King, the scholarship aims to help remove some of the financial barriers that often can get in the way of paying for important family activities, whether its helping pay for a dinner and mini-golf outing or an all-expenses paid trip to Disneyland.
After her father was awarded $3.8 million in damages from the city of Los Angeles, she explained how he used the money for father-daughter outings, such as taking trips to art exhibitions, and for helping foster her talents, such as by paying for art programs and leadership camps. With her scholarship initiative, King hopes to pay it forward and help provide opportunities for fathers of color to have the same invaluable experiences with their children.
"Who knows if they will ever acknowledge him in the way that they should," she added, touching on how memory is being preserved in the years since his death in 2012. "He really didn't care for that. He just cared about making a difference in people's lives and creating change."
As reported, a prominent private tech entrepreneur has given $10,000 to help establish the fund. King also hopes to solicit donations from the public and others have already pledged contributions.
Learn more about the "I Am A King" scholarship and how to get involved or apply here.