To the editor:

This past Monday, I had the honor to attend a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. memorial celebration at the Sunflower Missionary Baptist Church. It was truly a celebration of life, a celebration of unity, a celebration of humanity with humor, gospel singing, prayer and inspirational words. Though the outside temperature was near zero, the warmth of heart and hospitality for all people inside of the church was awe inspiring. 

It never ceases to amaze me, a white man who grew up in a white, mostly Danish and German rural community in Michigan, how truly remarkable is our African-American community. I grew up in the 1960s. I was 10 when MLK was assassinated. I remember the race riots, the George Wallace segregation speeches, the KKK marches, lynchings and evil activities in the name of God. 

Many of the people in the room Monday evening survived the 60s, lived the segregation, lived the abuses, lived the hatred waged against them just because of their skin color. These people, truly angels in my mind, hold no grudges, open up their hearts to all people,and extend their hands in friendship and aid, to the best of their ability, regardless of their financial standing. 

I was reminded that Dr. King was first a minister and that Sunflower Missionary Baptist Church, the message of Dr. King and the purpose of the celebratory day was to remind everyone that the real message was to love one another, to extend a hand of friendship and community to one’s fellow neighbor. Witnessing this blessing first-hand, I know in my heart that there is no problem in Kansas that we cannot solve if we just choose in our hearts to do so.