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Diversity Events

Diversity Events

January 2019: Martin Luther King Day

Celebrate MLK Day by participating in any of these or many other inspiring events around our state. You can also find events specific to your area by viewing this statewide celebration booklet, put together by Harris Stowe State University. 

Western Missouri

  • The Black Achievers Society of Greater Kansas City is a nonprofit organization founded in 1974 by former Kansas City Mayor Emanuel Cleaver II to honor African Americans in business and industry. A dinner was held in their honor, usually in the spring. In 1989, the award dinner was incorporated into the Martin Luther King Celebration hosted by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The SCLC Martin Luther King Day celebration concludes Thursday, January 17 at 6 p.m., with the Black Achievers’ Reception and Award Dinner held at the Federal Reserve Bank, 1 Memorial Drive. Click here for more information. 

  • The SCLC will also hold a 2019 Artist Tribute, featuring artists local to Kansas City who will pay tribute to music of the Civil Rights Movement (1955-1970), when African Americans strove to outlaw discrimination and gain voting rights in the United States. Music played a paramount role in the Civil Rights Movement and carries on today, as music and spoken word unify Black Americans under common goals to defend democracy, advance peace, and make justice. This special event will take place at the Gem Theater on Saturday, January 12 from 7 – 9:30 p.m. Click here for more information.

  • On Monday, January 21, volunteers will join City Year's 3,000+ AmeriCorps members at locations across the United States to participate in a day of service. City Year commemorates the Civil Rights Movement and honors the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by celebrating Dr. King's birthday as a “day on, not a day off.”  In partnership with Northeast Middle School, City Year Kansas City has created transformational service projects, such as painting murals and service projects just for children. Nearly 300 volunteers from across Kansas City will come together on this day to brighten and beautify the halls of Northeast Middle School in an effort to reconnect, uplift, and inspire the students, staff, and community. Please visit their website to learn more or to register for this special event.

  • The University of Central Missouri’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration is an opportunity for the community to pause and reflect on the work and impact of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., while recommitting to the goal of showing respect and dignity toward one another. This year, the celebration will include a number of related events highlighting the 2019 theme “One Nation, One Dream: Moving Forward Together.” Events include a MLK Advocacy photo booth, a MLK day of service and volunteerism, and a MLK Freedom scholarship dinner. For more information, please visit online, or contact Ed Wirthwein by phone at 660-543-4962, or by email at

Central Missouri

  • Bree Newsome is the University of Missouri’s 2019 featured speaker for the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. This contemporary civil rights icon first garnered national attention for her daring act of peaceful disobedience in June 2015. Following the brutal murder of nine black parishioners at Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina, Newsome climbed the flagpole at the South Carolina statehouse and pulled down the Confederate Battle flag as a protest against racist symbolism. Her arrest galvanized public opinion and led to the permanent removal of the flag. As a recognized and celebrated voice on the topics of injustice and racial discrimination, Ms. Newsome brings to light the importance of leadership development in building and sustaining social movements. This free event takes place Wednesday, January 23 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Jesse Auditorium. Click here for more information. 

  • Experience the Columbia Values Diversity Celebration honoring the 2019 theme “The Power of Diversity.” Share in a special breakfast program honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and witness the annual Columbia Values Diversity Awards. For additional information, email or call 573-874-7311.

  • The Missouri National Education Association (MNEA) Human Rights Committee holds the 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay - Poster Contest for Kindergarten through 12 grade students. Those wishing to enter should submit their essay and poster to their local MNEA affiliate by January 31. For additional information, email MNEA UniServ Director Lisa Blaha at, or call 800-404-9365.

Eastern Missouri

  • Come hear the exuberant, emotion-evoking former president of the National Education Association at Clayton Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday, January 20 at 3:30 p.m. Former NEA President Reg Weaver will keynote Day of Service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Honoring Dr. King: Looking Back and Moving Forward.” Please visit online to download the flyer. For more information, contact MNEA at, or call 573-644-9623.

  • Tickets are available for the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration “Dreaming in Color: Arts, Equity, and Inclusion.” Inspired by the vision and work of Dr. King and Kehinde Wiley, this year's program will focus on equity and inclusion in the visual arts. Presenters will include individuals featured in Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis portraits talking about how occupying space in a museum and art history has affected them. Click here for more information or to reserve tickets.

  • Bring your family to the Missouri History Museum to celebrate and reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Take part in youth activism and engagement workshops to discuss how to make a difference in your community, get active in movement workshops with Mama Lisa, create peace-inspired art, join the St. Louis Black Authors of Children’s Literature for stories, and enjoy special performances. This special event is designed for kids age 14 and under and takes place on Saturday, January 19 and Monday, January 21. Please visit their website for additional information.

  • The 32nd annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Commemoration at Washington University takes place at Graham Chapel. The event begins at 7 p.m. on Monday, January 21. It includes speeches, discussions, and gospel music. Admission is free. For more information, contact Rudolph Clay at, or call 314-935-5059.

Other 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 King 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. 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 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.
  • Visit All For Good to find service opportunities in your specific area.


However 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.


Missouri Commission on Human Rights
3315 W. Truman Blvd., Rm 212
P.O. Box 1129
Jefferson City, MO 65102-1129
Phone: 573-751-3325
Toll-Free Complaint Hotline: 1-877-781-4236
Relay Missouri: 711
Relay Missouri: 1-800-735-2966 (TDD)
Fax: 573-751-2905