Editorials

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. on his holiday, but work on economic and social justice

The Rev. Sam Mann spoke at the lectern with the Rev. Robert Lee Hill and Judy Hellman nearby last Sunday during the Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Service. The more than weeklong celebration in Kansas City for the national holiday honoring the birthday of the slain civil rights leader makes this community’s commemoration the largest in the country. A mass celebration is at 6 p.m. Monday at Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver is the keynote speaker.
The Rev. Sam Mann spoke at the lectern with the Rev. Robert Lee Hill and Judy Hellman nearby last Sunday during the Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Service. The more than weeklong celebration in Kansas City for the national holiday honoring the birthday of the slain civil rights leader makes this community’s commemoration the largest in the country. A mass celebration is at 6 p.m. Monday at Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver is the keynote speaker. The Kansas City Star

Celebrations will take place Monday throughout the Kansas City area with speeches and music to commemorate the national holiday for slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

“Investing in Our Community for Economic Justice” is the right theme for this year’s program sponsored by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City. As when King was alive and the civil rights movement marched through the streets of this nation, African-Americans still face a disproportionately high unemployment rate, segregated and deficient schools and a higher incarceration rate.

Voting rights for people of color also are under siege, despite efforts by King and others 50 years ago to get the Voting Rights Act signed into law. In addition, the deaths of unarmed black males and the protests that followed in 2014 show a continuing problem in police and black community relations.

The calm that King helped create and nonviolent action should dominate protests, and educators, government, civic and faith leaders need to listen.

The country also needs to do whatever it takes to end racial disparities in education, hiring, housing and economic opportunity. Bridges have to be built and barriers broken to continue the work that King started for this community and the nation to move forward.

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