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Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance hosts Martin Luther King, Jr.luncheon

Posted at 5:24 PM, Jan 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-15 18:29:30-05

The nation is marking what would be Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's 89th birthday.

Today- many people from coast to coast, including here in Omaha, are calling for more unity in a climate marked by political unrest. 

The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance hosted the 34th annual Unity luncheon to celebrate Dr. King's legacy. 

"The younger people need to know, they never need to lose sight, of where they came from as far as a historical perspective so they can have a clear direction of which way they'll be going in the future," said Senior Pastor Melvin Fluellen, Stranger's Rest Missionary Baptist Church of Bellevue.

"Racism is alive and as a community the only way we can get rid of racism is by calling it out every-time we see it," said Marque Snow, president of the Omaha Public School Board.

Community leaders including Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, Governor Pete Ricketts and Reverend Tony Sanders were joined by keynote speaker Fred Gray. Mr. Gray is a civil rights attorney who devoted his life to public service, at one point helping to organize the Montgomery bus boycott. 

"All of us would like to just one day wake up and all racism is over and everything is wonderful and everybody and everything is made for love. But it's not going to work that way," said Mr. Gray.

Gray joins other civil rights activists calling for the White House to speak out against racism. Dr. King's youngest daughter, the Reverend Bernice King, has tough words for President Donald Trump who reportedly used a vulgar phrase to describe African nations.

"We cannot allow the nations of the world to embrace the words that come from our president as a reflection of the true spirit of America," said Rev. Bernice King.

On both a national level and here in Omaha, many say they're reflecting on the importance of Martin Luther King Junior Day, saying the power of change is in our hands.

"What is very clear is the communities that have not used their power to vote and some of the political climate is our fault," said Preston Love Jr., Black Votes Matter. "Because we sat on the bench when we should've been voting and so my hope for 2018 is that people will wake up and see the power is in our voting hands."

Dr. King's family is calling on people to commit 50 acts of kindness between now and April 4th to mark the 50th anniversary of his assassination.