COLUMBUS, Ind. — Americans need to come out of their comfort zone in dismantling prejudice, the keynote speaker said during Monday’s 21st Annual CommUNITY Breakfast Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. in Columbus.

The local African American Pastors Alliance organized the free gathering focusing in part on the legacy of the civil rights movement, and the work that remains to make equality a reality.

Columbus resident Brittany King, 28, who organized the multiracial Black Lives Matter chapter about 18 months ago, earned a standing ovation for her message “Addressing the Elephants (in the Room)” before a crowd of about 350 people at the Columbus North High School cafeteria. 

The event theme was “MLK50 Forward: Together We Win With Love For Humanity.” Speaker King touched on love in her opening saying, “Unfortunately, that’s not where we’re all at right now.”

She used the late King’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” from 1963 as a backdrop for her address that became emotional twice near the end — once when she spoke of a local resident who mocked her black heritage on social media and once when she spoke of the strength of her Christian faith.

She called the year of 2017 both a blessing and a curse. She mentioned that the curse was easy to identify. “Some people wore their bigotry proudly,” she said.

Read more in Tuesday’s print edition of The Republic.

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