overview of lawmakers and Georgia leaders gathering at bottom of Capitol staircase.
Lawmakers and civil rights leaders gather at the Georgia state Capitol to remember the impact of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (Sarah Swetlik/Fresh Take Georgia)

Georgia politicians and dignitaries gathered at the state Capitol Friday to honor the legacy of the late Martin Luther King Jr. and his commitment to nonviolent activism.

Gov. Brian Kemp called for the audience to remember King’s instruction to turn the other cheek to negativity and ill will.

white man with blue shirt and red tie. Opened mouth for speaking
Gov. Kemp speaks to the crowd at the Martin Luther King Jr. service celebration Friday. (Sarah Swetlik/Fresh Take Georgia)

“In divisive times like the ones we know today, it’s especially helpful to recall Dr. King’s admonition to choose love over anger,” said Kemp. “To remember hate is destructive. Throughout all his too short life, Dr. King advocated for nonviolence and that is the great and is, well, the greatest of Christian values: love.”

Kemp spoke Friday during the 37th Annual Celebration of Service to honor King for what would have been his 93rd birthday on Saturday. It was hosted by the state’s Martin Luther King Jr. Advisory Council. 

Dr. Swati Vijay Kulkarni, a medical doctor who is the Consul General for India in Atlanta, also spoke at the event, emphasizing the values shared by King and Mahatma Gandhi, who led a peaceful movement for India’s independence from Britain. 

Indian woman wit dark hair and blue and purple dress speaking at a podium.
Dr. Swati Vijay Kulkarni describes the similarities between King and Gandhi and their approaches to nonviolent leadership Friday. (Sarah Swetlik/Fresh Take Georgia)

“Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi brought a great gift to the modern world, and that gift was the light of nonviolence, of service to the community, and of social justice,” she said.

Kulkarni said the two icons put their lives on the line to remove injustice.

“For both, nonviolence was not passive — it was rather active, creative and provocative,” said Kulkarni.

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