The Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City will hold its annual Mass Celebration at 6 p.m. Monday at Friendship Baptist Church in Kansas City, but there are several other Martin Luther King Jr. events across the metro area in coming days.
Here are some of them.
The Olathe Human Relations Commission will have a public King celebration from 3-5 p.m. Sunday at the Olathe Conference Center by Embassy Suites at Kansas 10 and Ridgeview Road. Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, will be the key speaker.
The celebration will feature awards and cash prizes for local students for essay, visual art and multimedia entries. Select students will read personal essays on the theme, “A purpose greater than myself.” Entries will be on display at the Olathe Downtown Library through the end of January.
“An inspirational ensemble featuring local students and community members will also perform thoughtful and uplifting selections,” according to an announcement from the city.
In Kansas City, Kan., the annual MLK celebration will be held Monday at the Jack Reardon Convention Center at Fifth Street and Minnesota Avenue. It will be preceded by the annual motorcade for hunger, which will depart at 10 a.m. Monday from Mount Zion Baptist Church at Fourth Street and Richmond Avenue. It will travel to the Reardon Convention Center for a King celebration. People are encouraged to decorate their vehicles and bring non-perishable food for local pantries to the church.
The formal program will start promptly at 11 a.m. This year’s theme is “In Light of the Dream: Where Do We Go from Here, Chaos or Community?” The Rev. Jimmy Brown of St. Louis will be the keynote speaker.
The program will feature gospel choirs and an array of performances. Scholarships will be awarded to graduating high school seniors.
“The planning committee consciously attempts to focus on ensuring the program is relevant and presented in a way that truly memorializes Dr. King and the Dream,” said Clarence Small, program coordinator.
Also on Monday, the 33rd annual Northland Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration will be at 10 a.m. in the Gano Chapel on the William Jewell College campus in Liberty.
The featured speaker will be the Rev. Kasey Jones, the first woman and African-American pastor of the National Memorial Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. Awards for community service will be presented. The theme of the event this year is “The man, the dream, the legacy.”
Another King celebration will be at 6 p.m. Monday in the pavilion at John Knox Village, 520 N.W. Murray Road in Lee’s Summit. The theme is “One voice for freedom.”
Bob Kendrick of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum will also speak at this event. The Lee’s Summit High School Jazz Band will perform before the program at 5:30 p.m.
Carson Ross, the longtime Blue Springs mayor, will be honored during the 13th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy and Scholarship Awards Dinner on Monday at the Overland Park Marriott Hotel, 108th Street and Metcalf Avenue.
The social hour begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by the dinner at 6 p.m. The program will start at 7 p.m. and will recognize those who promote diversity and King’s message of inclusion. Scholarships also will be presented.
Events will continue Tuesday with the 11th annual Lights of Hope celebration at 9:30 a.m. at MidAmerica Nazarene University, 2020 E. Sheridan St. in Olathe. The featured speaker will be the Rev. Marvin Daniels, executive director of the Hope Center in Kansas City.
Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity will hold its 18th annual Martin Luther King Jr. holiday breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Beta Lambda Educational Institute, 2915 Swope Parkway. The free continental breakfast event will feature musical tributes and speaker Dwayne Smith, provost and academic affairs vice president at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.