The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration this year in Kansas City, Kansas, will be virtual.
The event will be at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 18, with everything taking place online on the MLK KCK celebration page on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/kckmlkcelebration.
Because of the risk of COVID-19, the event is not in person this year. The program will be comparatively short, to keep the audience involved, and the focus will be on the educational aspects of the celebration. Serving as the general chairperson of the event is the Rev. Tony Carter Jr. Also working on the event were Clarence Small and Pastor Ricky Turner.
The event will not have a keynote speech, but some speakers are featured in short segments, according to Joseph Straws, an event planner who is working on the video presentation. The program lists a welcome from Mayor David Alvey. There will be musical performances, including a solo from Alicia Saunders. Scholarship winners will be individually recognized.
The scholarships are an important focus of the event this year. The 37th annual event will award 26 scholarships, plus five additional scholarships sponsored by District Attorney Mark A. Dupree Sr. The scholarships are for $500.
To give a donation to the scholarship fund, visit https://gkccf.kimbia.com/king01.
Straws said he will miss the in-person MLK celebration this year, but the committee decided to continue it virtually this year and will be planning for it to return next year in person. As someone who has worked with churches on their video presentations, Straws said that they are different from being there in person. The usual in-person MLK celebration is as close to a spiritual worship service as you can get, with a keynote speaker and choir, he added. It’s also appropriate as Dr. King was a preacher and did most of his ministry in the church, he said.
He said the public is invited to join in the virtual MLK celebration this year on Monday at www.facebook.com/kckmlkcelebration.