Senior justice writer for the New York Daily News and civil rights activist Shaun King spoke to Anchorage at the Alaska Airlines Center Friday night. Known for his unique line-blurring journalism that poses facts along with his opinion, King has gained a following over the last few years through social media. King is known for his activism with the Black Lives Matter movement, his criticism of both the Trump Administration and the Democratic National Party.
Independently organized and facilitated, King is speaking across the nation about social injustices and how the American public can better equip themselves for the future.
“I just suddenly started getting a whole lot of invitations. I think it has a little bit to do with me, but I think it has a lot more to do with where our country is right now. People are looking for insight, looking for hope. A lot of people are very frustrated and concerned,” King said. “I think the more I speak, the more demand there is because there aren’t a lot of people answering those questions, ‘What’s next?’ ‘What do we do?’ ‘How do we respond?’ So I think in a lot of ways, people weren’t prepared for a [Donald] Trump presidency,” King said.
King is currently running an injustice boycott in New York City, San Francisco and at Standing Rock. This campaign covers social injustices such as automatic adult persecution of minors, police brutality and the infringement of Native American lands at Standing Rock.
Before he was a civil rights organizer and writer, King studied history in college. King is currently working on his master’s in history, as well.
“Even though I’m a writer, my training is as a historian and I’m going to try and give people some historical context of where we are and point people in the directions of what we can do next and how we can respond,” King said.
King is known for a unique type of journalism where he presents unbiased facts alongside his own commentary on the facts and story he’s writing about. Traditionally deemed unethical, this type of journalism has made King well-known.
“When anybody reads anything that I write, you might disagree with my opinion on the story, but the facts are true. The burden to be accurate is pretty big, you know?” King said.
King says he wants the people of Anchorage who came to see him speak to teach the lessons of organization and staying informed to those who might benefit.
“I hope to leave people today with some strategy that they can organize and for things they can do next. I’m teaching more than I’m giving an inspirational speech. There’s a lesson I’m trying to teach and I hope people leave and can repeat to others what I taught,” King said.
This was the first time Shaun King has visited Alaska. In a traditionally red state, King said he saw and met many progressive and unique people that can’t be defined as simply as red or blue — a phenomenon King has been noticing in other states along his speaking tour.
“I’ve loved my time here in Anchorage and I love the people. I’m a really independent guy, and it’s been cool. Alaska really is a place of independent people. They kind of march to the beat of their own drummer…” King said. “We have this thing where we say red states and blue states, but I’ve met so many people who are really progressive and don’t really the see the world in a way that matches red or blue. It’s something completely different.”
King stays active on social media where promotes civil rights issues, along with his commentary-laced journalism with the New York Daily News.