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Celebrate MLK Day With Events In And Around The Wichita Area

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This year Wichitans will have plenty of opportunities to celebrate the life of civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We have of list of events starting on Friday and others sprinkled throughout the federal holiday weekend.

Calvary Baptist Church - Friday, January 15, 6 p.m.

Dr. Robert Weems, KMUW commentator and professor of business history at Wichita State University, will be the keynote speaker at the 2nd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Program.  It will be sponsored by the Wichita Alumni Chapter of  Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Christian Faith Centre - Saturday, January 16, 7 a.m.

Kick off a full day of celebrations at 7 a.m. with a pancake breakfast at the Christian Faith Centre, located at 1130 S. Broadway.

Afterward, a community-wide parade takes place at 10 a.m. It begins in the parking lot of the Christian Faith Centre and winds through historic downtown Wichita. The march will end at the Chester I. Lewis Reflection Square.

The Kansas African American Museum - Saturday, January 16

After the breakfast and parade, participants can take part in one of the largest MLK celebrations in the region. A community project will start at 11 a.m. at The Kansas African American Museum (TKAAM) located at 601 N. Water. As part of this year's project, TKAAM will collect necessities for the Union Rescue Mission, which provides shelter and meals for homeless men. Visitors are encouraged to drop off hygiene items, non-perishable goods, bedding and clothing for those in need and can also volunteer to help sort items.

Beginning at 7 p.m., the museum will hold an MLK celebration at Chapel Hill UMC located at 1550 N. Chapel Hill St. in east Wichita. The theme for this year is “But If Not,” which was taken from MLK’s sermon of the same title that encouraged people to persevere when things don’t happen as quickly or as smoothly as they may have planned.

Wiley College Choir will also perform and TKAAM will honor Wichita leaders Alicia Thompson from Wichita Public Schools, Van Williams from the City of Wichita and Denny Bender from the United Rescue Mission.

A $3 button is required to take part in each event.

Students will also be able to sign up earlier in the day to audition for the Wiley College Choir. A representative from the Historically Black College in Marshall, Texas will be at the museum. Appointment slots only from 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. Email Education Director Christyn Breathett at christyn.breathett@tkaamuseum.org to sign up.

 
Bethel College, North Newton

Bethel College will be hosting two MLK events again this year. Both events will be in the Krehbiel Auditorium located in the Fine Arts Center. This year's theme is mass incarceration and its disproportionate effect on communities of color in the United States.

  • Sunday, January 17, 7 p.m.

The first event is a screening of the documentary In Prison My Whole Life. The film takes a look at the U.S. criminal justice system through the story of the imprisonment and trial of political activist Mumia Abu-Jamal. Following the screening, Jerrell Williams, director of prison ministries for Offender-Victim Ministries in Newton, will lead an open discussion.

  • Monday, January 18, 7 p.m.

For Bethel College's main MLK event, visitors can hear a keynote address from Wichitan Michelle Armster, who is a transitional executive director of Mennonite Central Committee-Central States in North Newton. Her address is titled "The New Jane Crow."

Greater Wichita Ministerial League – Monday, January 18, 12 p.m.

This celebration on the King holiday, hosted by the Greater Wichita Ministerial League, will take place at the WSU MetroPlex located at 5015 East 29th St N. The theme of this year's event is "Beyond Tolerance." The guest speaker will be Dr. Lance D. Watson, senior pastor at  St. Paul Baptist Church in Richmond, VA.

Topeka King Banquet, Topeka - Saturday, January 16, 6 p.m.

If you're willing to make the trek to Topeka, Living The Dream Inc. will be hosting a banquet as part of their week full of events. The dinner will include a speech by guest speaker Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jr., the CEO and president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and the president of Education Online Services Corporation. Chavis is an African-American civil rights leader who, in his youth, was an assistant to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hugo Phan is a Digital News Reporter at KMUW, and founding member of the KMUW Movie Club. After years of being a loyal listener, he signed up to be a KMUW volunteer and joined the station's college student group before becoming a digital assistant in 2013.