A group of high profile Chicago ministers have announced plans to boycott Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Breakfast on Friday [January 15, 2016].

Accusing Mayor Emanuel of keeping silent throughout the alleged cover-up of the controversial Laquan McDonald video, African-American clergy of Chicago have made clear their seats will remain empty come Friday morning, and are urging other pastors and officials, including the program’s keynote speaker, to do the same.

“Dr. King was an advocate for the poor. He was not an agent for the elite,” began Reverend Ira Acree of the Greater St. John Bible Church in Chicago’s North Austin neighborhood. “Considering the conspiracy, considering the concealment of evidence, considering the cover-up and the toxicity of the corruption of this mayor’s administration, it would be a shame for us as ministers to be there and provide for Mayor Emanuel the political cover that he would desire.”

When asked about the boycott, Emanuel pointed out the annual breakfast was an event that began long before he took office, dating back to the 1980s under the administration of Mayor Harold Washington, and he intends to continue the tradition.

“The Martin Luther King mayoral breakfast is not about me. It’s about Dr. King and the life that he led and his life’s work. We have a lot of work ahead of us, as a city, state, and country, being consistent with his life’s work of economic and social justice,” Emanuel said.

While the mayor’s breakfast will take place, the Chicago Teachers Union, who have continuously threatened to strike and call for Emanuel’s resignation, will be hosting their very own MLK breakfast in a South Loop neighborhood union hall.

Despite this and the fact protesters have stated their intent to block any entrance to his event, the mayor has made sure the public knows the breakfast will go on as planned. “There’s not going to be a shortage of opportunities for people to take a moment in their lives to step back and remember the work of Dr. King.”