By Christopher Overfelt

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) of Greater KC is holding its annual MLK Jr. Celebration online this year. The SCLC is a nonviolent, direct action, social change organization founded nationally in 1957 by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The first of this year’s SCLC events to honor MLK was held on Jan. 10; the second will take place virtually on Jan. 18. All members of the PeaceWorks-KC community are encouraged to participate.

The theme of this year’s celebration is “Defending Democracy, Making Peace, and Advancing Justice.” You can join the online program at 5pm on Monday, Jan 18. U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Missouri 5th District, will lead a panel discussion, “Good Trouble at the Ballot: The Resilience of Black Voting Power.” Cleaver will be joined by Congresswoman Rashida Talib, D-Michigan 15th District, Congressman Hank Johnson, D-Georgia 4th District, and Congressman Dwight Evans, D-Pennsylvania 3rd District of Philadelphia.

You can register for the Jan. 18 event at www.sclcgkc.org. As members of the peace community, it is important that we educate ourselves on the harmful relationship between those in power and our minority communities. We can do just that by attending and supporting events such as these, where the voices of people of color are amplified and can be heard.

Together, we can begin to heal the wounds that are so painful within our Kansas City community. The first step is acknowledging that those wounds exist, and taking accountability and responsibility for them. The SCLC-GKC is an organization leading that effort by defending democracy, making peace, and advancing justice.

—Christopher Overfelt serves on the PeaceWorks-KC Board of Directors and is a member of Veterans for Peace. The MLK photo is from Unseen Histories on Unsplash.com.