The 47th annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration took place at the Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church in Kansas City and featured a speaker who nearly risked his life for justice.
Jonathan Butler, the University of Missouri graduate student who did not eat for a week last fall until top leaders resigned, spoke to a full house Monday night.
“There is no more time to play around, no more time for paddy cakes, no more time to live in a system that was not built for us,” Butler explained.
Tommy Thomas III was one of the audience members who came to support and hear Butler.
“I think it’s important,” he said. “Because this isn’t just a Mizzou problem, it’s a national problem, and we’re looking something that is centuries old - race relations, equality and injustice.”
Thomas said more action needs to be taken to fulfill King’s dream. "His speeches that he did then are eerily relevant to what's going on now. So it’s really a sign that things haven’t changed as much as we thought that they have and we need to get those changes going,” Thomas said.
Butler knows his hunger strike sparked change in Columbia but believes the country still has a long way to go.
“We are still being gunned down by the police, we are still facing poverty and we are still being denied education, so we are still fighting.
Lexi Sutter can be reached at email@example.com.