Kansas City Church Hosts Annual Mandela Day Celebration

Interfaith leaders and community activists pay tribute to Nelson Mandela.

July 18th not only marks the birthday of one of Africa’s most inspiring leaders, but it is an internationally recognized day to celebrate the spirit of Nelson Mandela’s life’s work. In honor of Mandela and his human rights legacy, on Monday, July 18, the Church of Scientology of Kansas City hosted its annual Mandela Day event in partnership with the Kansas City chapter of United for Human Rights.

Mandela Day event at the Church of Scientology Kansas City brought the community together in the name of human rights.
The Church of Scientology of Kansas City hosted its annual Mandela Day event in partnership with the Kansas City chapter of United for Human Rights.

An overview of Nelson Mandela’s life featured some of his most beloved quotes and a timeline of his achievements.

Cassandra Wainright, Pastor of Heaven Sent Outreach Ministries and Board Member of the Concerned Clergy Coalition spoke about the importance of Universal Human Rights including examples of violations such as child labor and human trafficking. “We extend a clarion call to people everywhere to commit to being and serving as change agents, not only in Kansas City but all around the world,” Pastor Wainright said, urging all to stand up for human rights.

Rev. Darryl Gray, executive director of Missouri Faith Voices, spoke about each of us respecting each other despite any differences. He shared stories of the struggles he faced as a child of an interracial couple in segregated South Carolina, which prompted him to become a human rights activist from a very young age. He further described the sense of hope that Nelson Mandela gave him and recounted the moment when he watched the news of Mandela being released from prison. 

“Nelson Mandela reminds us of what is doable,” said Rev. Gray. “He reminds us that there is nothing impossible. After 27 years of bondage, 27 years of hatred, 27 years of evil, he stepped out of that prison. No matter what we step into—racism, or xenophobia, or the hatred of the different because of who you love, because of your color, because of your faith, because of your sex, or because of whatever—we step out. That’s what this day is all about. It’s about remembering not just the person, but what he stood up for and what is possible. Interfaith dialogue must begin with honest conversation and the acknowledgment that it’s okay to differ and even disagree. If real, honest, genuine interfaith work is going to be possible we must not be afraid to expose the weakness of our faith and belief by hiding behind sacred words.”

Emma Ashton, social reform director of the Church of Scientology Kansas City and MC of the event, spoke about solutions to current human rights violations and gave an overview of the United for Human Rights program which the Church sponsors. The Church is inspired in its human rights activities by the words of humanitarian and Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard, who wrote “human rights must be made a fact, not an idealistic dream.”

The event ended with a call to action and these words from Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

United for Human Rights is a secular nonprofit organization that provides human rights educational resources that inform, assist and unite individuals, educators, organizations and governmental bodies in the dissemination and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at every level of society.

The Church of Scientology and Scientologists support United for Human Rights and make its educational materials available free of charge. Watch a documentary on the history and activities of United for Human Rights International on Voices for Humanity on the Scientology Network.

The Church of Scientology Kansas City is an Ideal Scientology Organization dedicated in November 2019 by Scientology ecclesiastical leader Mr. David Miscavige. The Church works extensively with other religions, nonprofits and officials on programs to uplift and benefit the community. Its outreach activities are featured in a series of videos on an interactive timeline on the Scientology website.


The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.

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