Wednesday, January 7, 2015

MCHR Diversity Spotlight

MCHR Diversity Spotlight - Martin Luther King Day

MCHR Diversity Spotlight - Martin Luther King Day
In January, our nation recognizes the birthday of one of the most visible advocates of nonviolent direct action for social change, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was born in Atlanta on January 15, 1929, and we mark his birthday with a host of celebrations each year throughout the United States. Dr. King’s birthday became a federal holiday on November 2, 1983, when President Ronald Reagan signed a bill passed by Congress.
In 1994, in keeping with Dr. King’s legacy of advocacy and assistance for others, Congress designated the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday as a national day of service, making it the only federal holiday so observed. The MLK Day of Service is a featured part of United We Serve, the President's national call-to-service initiative, asking Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to the nation's most pressing problems. The national holiday celebration occurs on the third Monday in January. On October 16, 2011, a monument to Dr. King was dedicated in Washington, D.C., the first on the prestigious National Mall honoring a civilian.
In the spirit of Dr. King’s commitment to equality, state human rights agencies, such as the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR), were created. Established in 1958, the MCHR’s goal is to foster mutual understanding and eliminate discrimination through education and outreach and the enforcement of the Missouri Human Rights Act. The MCHR investigates complaints of discrimination in housing, employment, and places of public accommodations because of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, disability, age (in employment only), and familial status (in housing only). If you believe you have been discriminated against due one of these protected categories, contact the MCHR at (877) 781-4236 or take this assessment to determine if the MHRA applies to your situation.
The MLK Day of Service is “A Day On, Not a Day Off” and is the perfect time for Americans to actively work toward solutions to social problems and move our nation closer to achieving the ideals of Dr. King. MLK Day is a national celebration, but its emphasis is on local action, working close to home to create a better, more equitable, and just society. You can celebrate MLK Day by participating in any of these or many other inspiring events around our state:
Western Missouri
  • The University of Central Missouri's Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration will have several related events. Programs include the MLK Community Service Awards presented at the monthly business luncheon of the Greater Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce on January 14. This event will begin at 11:45 a.m. and will be held Luigi’s Italian Restaurant, 121 Pine Street, Warrensburg. The MLK Freedom Scholarship Dinner on January 20 will feature keynote speaker Lucas Boyce, Director of Business Development and Legislative Affairs for the Orlando Magic, author of Living Proof: From Foster Care to the White House and the NBA, and UCM Alumni. This program begins at 6:30 p.m. and will also be located in the Elliot Student Union Ballroom. Tickets for the dinner must be purchased in advance at the UCM Mentoring, Advocacy, and Peer Support Office, Dockery 212 or by calling (660) 543-4156. On January 15, there will be an Issues Forum on “The Dream Still Matters” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the UCM’s Elliott Student Union Atrium.  Register for the Forum by contacting Brianna Nesbitt at (660) 543-4007.
  • “Unity in the Community” is the theme of this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, beginning at 5 p.m. on January 19 in the Pavilion at John Knox Village, 520 Northwest Murray Road, Lee’s Summit. For more information, call (816) 969-1000.
  • The City of Independence is celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at 7 p.m. on January 19 at the Truman Memorial Building, 416 East Maple. The event theme is "Act Like You Care" and features a scholarship essay contest. The keynote speaker will be Reverend Sam Mann. For more event information, call (816) 325-7000.  
  • Join Metropolitan Community College (MCC) for the annual MLK Day of Service. Each MCC campus will host a number of community service projects as a special way to celebrate the day with friends and fun. Arrive prior to 8 a.m. at the MCC-Pen Valley Education Center to turn in your paperwork and receive a complimentary morning snack.  For further details, contact the Campus Life & Leadership Office at 816-604-4255.
  • A breakfast honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. will kick off the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service at Missouri Southern State University. The festivities will include featured guest speakers and volunteer opportunities. Tickets are $5 per person and can be purchased at the MSSU Ticket Office or online
Central Missouri
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service at Missouri University of Science and Technology is a time for students, faculty, staff, and community members to participate in the celebration on January 19. The day opens with registration and a hot breakfast buffet, followed by service projects later in the morning and early afternoon with a sack lunch provided to all registered participants. For more information, contact S&T Student Life at
  • The University of Missouri celebrates MLK Day with featured speaker, Myrlie Evers-Williams, civil rights advocate and former NAACP chairperson, on January 28, from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Missouri Theatre, 203 South Ninth Street. Free tickets are available at the Missouri Theatre and MSA/GPC Box Offices. For more information, call 573-882-5838 or e-mail
  • The Columbia Values Diversity Celebration on January 15 brings people together throughout the community to share in a special breakfast program honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The annual Columbia Values Diversity Awards also will be presented at the celebration. Pre-registration is required, and the deadline to register is 5 p.m. on January 9. For additional information, contact or call (573) 874-6386.
Eastern Missouri
  •  Join the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the St. Louis community on January 19 at 10 a.m. for their Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance at the Touhill Performing Arts Center, One University Boulevard, St. Louis.
  • Don’t miss the American Stroke/Heart Association and Express Scripts Foundation’s Dr. Martin Luther King Health Fair and Luncheon at the St. Louis Union Station, 1820 Market Street. Receive free health screenings from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and stay for lunch at 11:30 a.m. Register online or call 314-692-5642 to reserve a table for your group.
  • On January 19, the Multicultural Affairs Center at Truman State University will host the Martin Luther King Collegiate Challenge. This year, students, faculty, and staff volunteers will go out into the local community and make their day off from school “A Day On” by helping community partners with projects that they may not have the time or resources to complete. The event begins with registration at 8:30 a.m., followed by opening ceremonies, team building activities, and the completion of projects. 
National Resources
  • For more information on Dr. King’s life and legacy of social justice, plan a visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta. The center was opened in 1968 thanks to the dedication of Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. King, to the ideals of the American Civil Rights movement. The repository there consists of the papers of Dr. King and those of the organization he co-founded, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, as well as the records of eight major civil rights organizations and of several individuals active in the movement. The archives also include more than 200 oral history interviews with Dr. King’s teachers, friends, family, and civil rights associates. The King Center is at the hub of a 23-acre National Historic Site, which brings one million visitors each year. Free attractions include the birth home, the crypt of Dr. and Mrs. King, exhibits at Freedom Hall, gift shop/information facility, and reflecting pool. For more information, call 404-526-8900.
  • Visit the website of the Corporation for National and Community Service to find out more about the MLK Day of Service. The site includes MLK Day Legacy of videos featuring civil rights luminaries Congressman John Lewis, Ruby Bridges, Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, and former U.S. Senator Harris Wofford, reminding us of the importance of keeping Dr. King's legacy of service alive and challenging us to make service a part of our everyday lives. Find a MLK Day of Service project in your community or list your project so others can participate. For more information, e-mail
  • Visit All For Good to find service opportunities in your specific area.
If you choose to celebrate, we encourage you to seek ways you can work in your community to help make America a place of freedom, opportunity, fairness, and justice, which are hallmarks of the American dream. Enjoy the holiday, and do something positive in your community – remembering to support the MLK Day of Service as “A Day On, Not a Day Off.”

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