New celebration for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 17, 2014 

Lee’s Summit’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration this year will be different.

The Human Relations Commission is taking a new approach. Instead of choirs and speeches, this planning committee decided on a more interactive, down-to-earth program to help people thrive.

“Taking Strides to a Healthier You” is the theme for the free event running 5-9 p.m. Jan. 20 in the Pavilion at John Knox Village, 520 NW Murray Road.

It will include experts in health care, financial planning and will be able to participate in fitness training activities

Debra Bronston, the 2014 chairperson of the Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration Planning Committee, said that earlier celebrations always focused on the “dream” but didn’t give a call to action or description of what the dream looks like.

“We are focusing on Dr. King’s dream about socio-economic issues, in particular healthcare, which he was concerned about before his death,” Bronston said.

She said that in early 1968, King and other civil rights leaders were planning a “Poor People’s Campaign” in Washington, D.C. The group was demanding help for the poor to obtain jobs, healthcare and decent homes. They planned a march throughout the Capitol, to encourage Congress passing anti-poverty legislation. King was assassinated before the march. His widow, Coretta Scott King, and several ministers in Civil Rights Movement carried through with the march on May 12, 1968.

Healthcare providers, physicians and other professionals from Lee’s Summit and the metropolitan area have volunteered their time and resources. There will be give-a-ways and prizes through free raffles.

Frank White, Kansas City Royals Hall of Famer and Kansas City T-Bones coach, will make remarks along with Mayor Randy Rhoads at the beginning of the event.

The celebration is sponsored by the city’s Lee’s Summit’s Human Relations Commission.

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