When Lora King, 35, remembers Rodney King, she remembers a devoted father who routinely sacrificed to provide his children with various experiences that helped them aspire to be more than their immediate surroundings. To honor his legacy and to help other fathers do the same, Lora has established the ‘I Am A King’ Scholarship Fund.
The goal of the fund is to remove some of the financial barriers that prevent fathers and their children from engaging in outings that will expand their children’s horizons while fortifying their bond.
King wants the world to know that her father was more than the face of police brutality in Los Angeles or a man who had unfavorable run-ins with law enforcement. She wants her father to be remembered for his advocacy around race relations.
April 29th marked the 27th anniversary of the start of the L.A. riots which were prompted heavily by the ‘not guilty’ verdict that the LAPD officers received in spite of video footage of their relentless beating of Rodney King that fateful night. King chose to memorialize the day by launching the scholarship program, which is backed by a private tech entrepreneur with a starting contribution of $10,000. Others have been identified to help grow the fund and a GoFundMe page has been set up for public contributions.
After Rodney King was awarded $3.8 million from the city of Los Angeles in 1992, Lora said the money was used to fund a skiing trip to Mt. Baldy, California, a surfing trip on Venice Beach, and multiple trips to art exhibitions around their home state. He paid for various leadership camps and art programs to expose her to much more than he had the opportunity to see throughout his life. Yet there are no murals commemorating his efforts in L.A. and no street signs or public parks bearing his name to honor these actions.
“Who knows if they will ever acknowledge him in the way that they should,” Lora King shared with the Los Angeles Times. “He really didn’t care for that. He just cared about making a difference in people’s lives and creating change.”
Lora has accepted responsibility to carry on her father’s legacy and ensure that the work he started before his untimely death in 2012 continues. In 2016 she started the Rodney King Foundation for Social Justice and Human rights and has used the foundation as a platform to build better community relations with the Los Angeles Police Department.
The new scholarship program is just one of the foundation’s initiatives that will help to carry on her father’s legacy while also empowering fathers to play more active roles in their children’s lives. The first awards are scheduled to be distributed on Father’s Day.
To find out more or to apply to receive an “I Am A King” scholarship, visit the Rodney King Foundation website.