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MLK keynote speaker Rev. Leroy Adams, Jr. encourages us to find the 'strength to love'

Rev. Leroy Adams pic.jpeg
Jamond Williams
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For this month’s In The Mix, Carla Eckels speaks to the Greater Ministerial League keynote speaker, who talks about the MLK lessons that he draws from.

Rev. Leroy Adams, Jr. will be the keynote speaker Monday at the Greater Ministerial League's virtual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration.

He's been in ministry for nearly 40 years, taking him to places like Oklahoma, Nebraska and Germany.

He is currently the pastor of Providence Baptist Church in San Francisco

Rev. Adams studied at Harvard, prayed at the White House and has organized a city-wide water relief effort for Flint, Michigan. He's even received a MLK award for his community work.

As a Baptist minister, Rev. Adams says he's been impacted by the life and activism of Dr. King. When thinking about speeches of the civil rights leader, he says, there's one that truly resonates with him.

"What really stands out was his last address to the audience in Memphis, Tennessee, the night before he was assassinated and how his transparency stood out with regards to what his mission was, and that was to do God's will," he said. "Regardless of what he stood for, as it relates to nonviolence, as he stood against the Vietnam war, certainly as he helped those men in Memphis, Tennessee, so that they could have equal pay.

In spite of division and conflict raging in America on several fronts, Rev. Adams says his message will focus on cultivating unity and support of one another.

"We must have strength to love," he said. "I think that was the foundation of Dr. Martin Luther King with regards to interacting in a non-violent way.

"I believe in that same ideology that we must continue to love those who hate us, do good to those who spitefully use us and pray for those who persecute us. We need to speak truth to power. We need to be angry without being vengeful. So my message is to encourage us to have strength to love for all people."

The Greater Wichita Ministerial League's virtual MLK celebration will take place on Monday, Jan. 17 at noon.

The celebration will also be streamed live on Facebook and YouTube.

Carla Eckels is Director of Cultural Diversity for News and Engagement at KMUW. She produces and hosts the R&B and gospel show Soulsations and brings stories of race and culture to The Range with the monthly segment In the Mix. Carla was inducted into The Kansas African American Museum's Trailblazers Hall of Fame in 2020 for her work in broadcast/journalism.