Up in the morning, February 11, 2022 | Local News

On Super Bowl Sunday, Lekevie Johnson wants to pack his church. Not to watch the game, but for something much more important.

Johnson’s Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, 1601 W. Bloomington Road, C, hosts Not on My Watch’s “What MLK Would Say to Fathers in 2022.”

The event starts at 5 p.m. Johnson is aware that the Super Bowl starts half an hour later (Central Time).

“Some of us love sports and football,” Johnson said. “I am a sports and football guy. It’s just entertainment. We can go back and watch entertainment highlights. But these are life decisions. It’s an opportunity to make an impact on someone’s life. You have to measure it. »

The audience will include Johnson’s 18-year-old son, Kaleb.

Urbana High School principal Taren Nance is the keynote speaker. He’s already started a conversation series called “Things I Wish I Had Told My Mother in High School.” The 36-year-old will start his speech with some of these thoughts.

Nance was happy to participate when asked.

“I am humbled and honored,” he said. “I’m just thrilled that the community embraces me in such a powerful way for those who have met me. But more importantly, those who have just heard of me and see some of the things I put on the networks social media and some of the messages I send. So far so good. I appreciate it all.

Other speakers include Johnson, News-Gazette columnist Jay Simpson, Champaign County Clerk and Recorder Aaron Ammons, Verdell Jones, Mark Pelmore, Marcus Reid and Jordan Simmons. “All are fathers,” said event organizer Hub Burnett.

They have a subject in mind. Armed violence in the region has become a major concern.

“We’re asking people to sacrifice some, maybe half, of their Super Bowl viewing to participate and fight this gun violence,” Burnett said. “Do we want a safe community or are we worried about the Super Bowl? I strategically did it like this to put pressure on people to see who would show up.

The theme is new to the program.

“We were going with the flow of the community at the time,” Burnett said.

Johnson said he looked forward to hearing from the various speakers.

“What you’re hoping it brings is a level or an inspiration that motivates us to act,” Johnson said.

He is looking for small victories.

“Gun violence has been a frustrating play for all of us,” Johnson said, “And if someone gets hit to turn in a different direction. For me, mission accomplished. “It’s going to take all of us to reduce that gun violence This has been my goal.

Mt. Calvary has room for about 500 people. Johnson and Burnett are pushing for strong turnout, spreading the word on social media. The event will last 90 minutes.

“We want people to show up, especially dads,” Burnett said. “It’s really necessary.”

Johnson is happy to help.

“What we can do collectively and collaboratively is huge,” Johnson said. “Our doors are open. What better thing to host? »