By Adam Duxter

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – City leaders, volunteers, entrepreneurs and more honored the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during several events across the city Saturday.

In south Minneapolis, nearly 100 people gathered for a volunteer drive at Richfield Lutheran Church. There, volunteers packed more than 300 cold weather supply kits for the area homeless.

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“I think events like this beyond the fact of the real tangible [purpose of] helping people keep their hands and feet warm in these frigid dangerous Minnesota weather,” said newly elected City Council President Andrea Jenkins. “It’s also about building community.”

The event, organized by Trust Incorporated, was designed in part to honor King’s legacy.

“One of the quotes Dr. King has is that love is what justice looks like in public, and so events like these are an opportunity for people to show love for their neighbors, themselves, and to put into practice the dream that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr had for us all,” Jenkins said. “That’s to live in a more connected, equitable, less violent society.”

Donations from the event went to Simpson Housing Services in Minneapolis. Executive Director Steve Horsfield says even today, Dr. King’s words hold incredible weight.

“You read some of his material written around the mid-50s, as he was doing some work around the civil rights movement and where things had come to that point and where we were to go next, some of that stuff could have been written last year,” Horsfield said. “The call to justice, the call to action and the vision that we collectively can do better for one another is as relevant today as it ever was.”

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At the Minneapolis Convention Center, hundreds met for the first-ever Black Owned Business Rewards Club MLK weekend event.

There, entrepreneurs, Black community leaders and more gathered for dialogue, shopping and networking.

“Prior to his assassination, [Dr. King] was very instrumental to bringing people together,” said Ronald Charles Buford, who sits on the board for the Black Owned Business Reward Club. “That’s what we wanted to do here is bring people together and allow them to interact with each other, have discussions and then start thinking about how do we fight to overcoming some of these barriers we deal with as a community?”

The event brought together groups from each corner of Minneapolis, along with speakers from around the country. Buford says this wasn’t an accident.

“It’s a celebration of not only him and his birthday, but his dream for everyone to be treated equal,” Buford said.

While important to reflect on King’s words, others at the event stressed how the work he attempted to accomplish is not done yet.

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“The night before he died, he talked about going to the mountaintop, we never got to the mountaintop when he died,” said Khulia Pringle of the National Parents Union, who spoke during a session at the event. “He had a dream, and I think we’re trying to self-actualize that dream.”

Adam Duxter