King events include scholarship service, panels, movie discussion

Besides the kickoff breakfast, the annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration Sunday and Monday locally will spotlight black NASA space-shot heroines; scholarship winners and how love can stop hate and racism; a panel discussion on local diversity’s progress; a drama about civil rights struggles; and a discussion of one of King’s most famous writings.

All gatherings are free and open to all. Here is an overview of King holiday programs other than Monday’s breakfast.

» 41st annual Martin Luther King Scholarship Program at 4 p.m. Sunday: The Rev. Mark Teike, senior pastor at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Columbus and a frequent speaker over the years at King gatherings, will be the keynote speaker on the topic of “The Power to Love in an Unloving World” at Calvary Community Church, 1031 Chestnut St. in Columbus. He focus on the importance of agreeing to disagree on matters while still being willing to work toward working together as a community.

» “Hidden Figures” free movie screening and discussion, 10 a.m. Monday: The inspirational, based-on-a-true story of three brilliant African-American female mathematicians at NASA — Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) — serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) into orbit amid the world’s great space race. The film, to be shown at Calvary Community Church, 1031 Chestnut St. in Columbus, takes some liberties with actual NASA history, according to online interviews with the real women. For instance, segregated restrooms and buildings were no longer the norm at NASA during most of the period highlighted.

» Panel discussion “Columbus Then and Now: How Far Have We Come, How Far Do We Have To Go?” 11 a.m. Monday: The diversity-themed event at the Columbus Learning Center, 4555 Central Ave., will include panel moderator Aida Ramirez, director of the Columbus Human Rights Commission; Hanna Omar, spokesperson for the Islamic Society of Columbus Indiana; IUPUC and DACA student Joseline Medina; Sondra Bolte, a leader for the local Showing Up For Racial Justice; longtime Columbus resident Ric King; and the Rev. Clem Davis, pastor of St. Bartholomew Catholic Church, a frequent speaker supporting racial and religious diversity and issues. Sandra Miles is dean of students and director of student affairs at IUPUC and an organizer of the discussion. “It’s no question that Columbus has evolved and become more inclusive and diverse over the past 50 years,” Miles said. “But recent events with various outcomes suggest that we still have a ways to go to ensure that all residents feel safe and welcome in our wonderful community.”

» Columbus Area Arts Council presentation by Bright Star Touring Theatre, “Struggle for Freedom: The Life of Dr. King,” 2 p.m. Monday, The Commons, 300 Washington St., Columbus: The free, 45-minute musical drama will be followed by a brief question-and-answer session. Expected to draw about 300 or more people, from youngsters to grandparents.

» Black Lives Matter panel discussion, Rev. Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” 6:30 p.m. Monday, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus, 7850 W. Goeller Road, Columbus: The free event will feature panelists Pastor Fred King, a member of the local African American Pastors Alliance; Leah Humphrey, organizer/activist of Indy10 Black Lives Matter; Kyra Harvey, organizer/activist of Indy10 Black Lives Matter; Satchuel Cole, activist/vice president of DON’T SLEEP in Indianapolis; Stanley Njuguna, activist/member of Students Against State Violence at Indiana University; and the Rev. Nic Cable, minster of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus.

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