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The Rev. Damon LynchThe Rev. Damon Lynch Jr.
The Rev. Damon Lynch
A Cincinnati, Ohio, pastor will be the guest speaker for this year’s Kansas City, Kan., Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration Jan. 21.
The Rev. Damon Lynch Jr., pastor of the New Jerusalem Baptist Church, Cincinnati, will speak on the topic, “Spreading the Commitment for the Dream Worldwide; for Justice, for Brotherhood and for Peace.”
The event starts at 11 a.m. at the Jack Reardon Civic Center, 5th and Minnesota, Kansas City, Kan.
A Motorcade and March for Hunger will precede the celebration, assembling at 9 a.m. and departing promptly at 10 a.m. from the Mount Zion Baptist Church, 5th and Richmond. It will arrive at the Reardon Center in time for the 11 a.m. event.
Lynch is the former president of the Baptist Ministers Conference and is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. He started the first Martin Luther King March, along with Virginia Coffey, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and Charlene Ventura.
He graduated from Cincinnati Bible Seminary and received his master’s degree from the Graduate Theological Foundation at Notre Dame, where he was voted class orator. He received an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Temple Bible College in Cincinnati, Ohio, and an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the College of Mount St. Joseph. He is often referred to as “Cincinnati’s Preacher.” He has been inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Hall of Fame for Preachers.
He and his wife have two children, one who is a pastor and another who is a medical doctor, and four grandchildren.
Lynch fought by the side of the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth during the civil rights movement. Shuttlesworth survived bombings, beatings and arrests in the fight for civil rights. Lynch said at Shuttlesworth’s funeral, “He had been baptized by fire in Alabama – dogs and water hoses and beatings. When he came to Cincinnati he was looking for greener pastures.”
This year’s celebration in Kansas City, Kan., will include youth highlights and over $30,000 in scholarships will be awarded to graduating high school seniors through the Rev. C.E. Taylor/MLK, Jr. Educational Awards Program. The youth program will feature local youth talent from schools in the Kansas City, Kan., school system.
The annual scholarship award winners will be announced and students will be on hand to receive their educational scholarship awards. Special accommodations will be made for the physically challenged and the hearing impaired. A sign language interpreter will also be on hand.
There will be a voter registration booth set up with official registrars in attendance to conduct on-the-spot registrations for persons not registered to vote.
This year's celebration is sponsored by Sprint, The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, Happy Food Stores–Happy Foods North, Board of Public Utilities, Unified Government of Wyandotte County-Kansas City, Kan., Construction and General Laborers AFL-CIO No. 1290, Hilton Garden Inn, Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, the Raphael Hotel Group, Mark One Electric Co., Inc., Landmark Mortgage Co - Americo, The Community Foundation of Wyandotte County, J.E. Dunn Construction Co. and Dunn Family Foundation, Kansas City, Kan., Chamber of Commerce and Evans and Mullinix, P.A.
Kaw Valley District Ushers, Prince Hall Masons, F & AM and PRIDE will assist in seating and management.
The Kansas City, Kan., Holiday Celebration Committee is in charge of the event. LaVert Murray is general coordinator of the event; the Rev. Tony Carter is general program chairman.
The event will feature a Mass Choir. The King Day Mass Choir sign up and practice will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, at the 8th Street Baptist Church, 8th and Oakland Avenue. For more information on the choir, email email@example.com.