Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day will see observances in Sedalia and in the local area as well.
In Sedalia, observances will begin with the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration at 10 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. This year will be observed with a multicultural approach.
“It’s being sponsored by the Pettis County Community Partnership and activities are organized by the local NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People),” President of the Sedalia-Pettis County Branch of the NAACP Rhonda Chalfant said Tuesday.
The theme for this year’s presentation is “Confronting the Institution.” It will encourage conversation among others about institutionalized discrimination and promote speaking about about the issue in a “calm” manner.
“Institutionalized discrimination is pattern of discrimination that is so interwoven into the normal workings of society that we don’t recognize it,” Chalfant said.
Chalfant, one of three speakers Monday, will speak at the Sacred Heart event on the topic.
Chalfant added that during the event there will musical presentations by Iglesia Luterana Amigos de Cristo Church, the Beard family, the Praise Dance group from Burns Chapel Free Will Baptist Church, and also a group of local Ukrainian singers.
“They’re going to be doing a couple musical numbers,” Chalfant said of the Ukrainian singers. “Probably one in their native language. It’s very much going to be a multicultural celebration this year.”
A larger number and a “wider variety” of performers are participating in the event this year, Chalfant added.
After the observance at Sacred Heart, all citizens are encouraged to march with the participants to Sedalia City Hall for additional presentations.
“We’ve expanded our march route this year,” Chalfant said. “We’ll be walking east to Ohio (Avenue), north to Main (Street), west on Main to Osage (Avenue), and then south on Osage to City Hall.
“We wanted to provide a little more visibility of our march,” she added.
Joyce Foster, a former nursing instructor at State Fair Community College and a minister, will be one of the speakers at City Hall. Foster will also speak on “Confronting the Institution.”
“We will be presenting three different voices, three different views on the same idea,” Chalfant added.
Also presenting at City Hall will be 13-year-old Sakkyra King, the granddaughter of Noah and Cookie Poole, of Sedalia.
“She is incredibly talented,” Chalfant noted. “A very posed young lady, I’ve seen her perform as a musician and I’m very impressed by her. She and Joyce are both going to be talking about the same idea. She’s going to present a young person’s viewpoint.”
Chalfant would like to encourage the public to attend both events and the march.
“We would encourage people to think about and talk about the issues of discrimination,” Chalfant added. “How they effect our society, and to speak in a calm and rational way about the issues that confront us. All too often discussions end up being arguments with the loudest voice winning. That’s not what we need here.”
On Monday, in Warrensburg, according to a media release from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, the UCM Performing Arts Series and the Warrensburg Ministerial Association will host the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Praise and Worship Service at 6:30 p.m. at the Alumni Memorial Chapel on campus.
Master of ceremonies for the event will be the Rev. Jim Tomonson of Warrensburg Church of the Brethren. Keynote speaker will be the Rev. Morris Collins of Warrensburg’s Jesus Saves Pentecostal Church of God.
Music for the service will be provided by members of Jesus Saves Pentecostal Church of God Sanctuary Choir and UCM’s ABC Gospel Choir. Soloists Shirley Briscoe, of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, and Corey Watson, of Harvest Fellowship Church, will also give a special musical presentation.
During the service, the MLK Scholarship will be presented by the Warrensburg Ministerial Association to a high School senior. The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Praise and Worship Service is free and open to the public.
On Tuesday, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Freedom Scholarship Dinner is planned for 6:30 p.m. in UCM’s Elliott Student Union ballroom.
Dr. Cynthia Johnson, a Warrensburg native, UCM alumna and Kansas City area educator, will be the keynote speaker. The spring 2015 recipients of the Freedom Scholarships also will be recognized.
A release by UCM said, “Kansas City educator and nationally recognized speaker and consultant Cynthia “Mama J” Johnson will be the keynote speaker for the University of Central Missouri’s annual Freedom Scholarship Dinner. The event is the highlight of the university’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, ‘Equality and Education Still Matter.’”
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.