Black Lives Matter promoting several upcoming events focusing on Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Black Lives Matter of Columbus chapter will tackle topics ranging from white privilege to what its leaders see as the righteous rebellion of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in upcoming events through mid-January.

Organizers of the organization, which includes people of all races focusing on peaceful protests to racial injustice, are working to attract new allies and to educate people about King’s impact.

Toward that end, the chapter has joined with the local African American Pastors Alliance on Jan. 12 to support a screening of the movie “Selma” about King’s famous 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, for voting rights for blacks. The presentation will be at Columbus City Hall.

Chapter organizer and chairwoman Brittany King will speak at a Jan. 16 meeting about how King’s peaceful protests of the 1950s and 1960s civil rights movement have influenced activism since then.

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The meeting, open to all at 6 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus is titled, “Reclaiming the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” Spoken word artist Mariah Ivey of Indianapolis also will be featured at the meeting with one of her original presentations.

“We don’t want the standardized MLK history lesson,” King said. “We are determined to get down to the parts of Martin Luther King that some people might not know,” she said. “A lot of the history of Martin Luther King has been whitewashed today to become more palatable to non-blacks.”

She added that many of Martin Luther King’s actions were those of one strongly rebelling against a part of society that needed to shaken. Brittany King also will share how the late leader’s life has influenced her own.

Jessarae Emberton, co-organizer and ally mentor of the local chapter, acknowledged that some local residents, including those recently posting slightly argumentative comments on social media, still don’t fully understand the role of the chapter and the importance of racial understanding.

“The body of work that we have done thus far really is about education and fighting for racial equality while keeping the dialogue open so we can make the community stronger,” Emberton said. “It’s not about causing trouble.”

Registration for Ally Workshops set for Jan. 7 and 8 at the Unitarian building already are closed because each has reached the maximum number of 25 registrants, according to Emberton. She said the idea is to help people find ways to be supportive to Black Lives Matter “and people of color in general without overstepping boundaries and negatively impacting their space.”

Black Lives Matter-related events

Upcoming events include:

Jan. 7-8: Ally Workshops (enrollment full and registration is now closed). Showing people how to support the chapter and people of color in general. 1 to 5 p.m. each day. Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus, 7850 W. Goeller Blvd. in Columbus.

Jan. 12 – Screening of the movie “Selma” about the Rev. Martin Luther King’s famous 1965 march for voting rights. High school students also will share about what King’s impact means to them. 6 to 8 p.m. in Columbus City Hall, 123 Washington St.

Jan. 16: — “Reclaiming the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” Including speakers such as Brittany King, organizer and chairperson of Black Lives matter of Columbus; spoken word artist Mariah Ivey; speaker Christopher Hunt, who often explores the intersection of philosophical, theological and racial elements of society; and Aimee Zoeller of IUPUC discussing Martin Luther King’s civil disobedience and more. 6 to 8:30 p.m. Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus, 7850 W. Goeller Blvd.

Jan. 26 – Black Lives Matter of Columbus monthly meeting. 6 to 8 p.m. Location to be announced.

Information: Facebook page for Black Lives Matter of Columbus or blacklivesmattercolumbus@gmail.com.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.