How will you spend MLK Day this year? For some people, the third Monday of January just means a day off from school or work, but others are actually taking the time to honor the man who gave so much to the movement–including his life.
To celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., the General Mills Foundation and United Negro College Fund are joining forces yet again to host the 25th annual MLK Holiday Breakfast at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The theme for this year’s breakfast is, “Infinite Hope, Meaningful Action.”
Yolanda Adams, multi-platinum selling and Grammy-Award winning Gospel artist, will serve as this year’s special guest. She’ll be performing, as well as sharing some of her thoughts regarding MLK Day.
“Celebrating and embracing my heritage [was a big part] of my upbringing,” Adams says. “My [parents] made sure we understood how blessed we were to live in the age we did. We were also taught about the struggles of heroes and heroines of the movement to true freedom. That’s why every year, I make it a point to participate in celebrations of the life of one of the greatest voices for justice there was: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”
This year, Vernon Jordan, an attorney, long-time civil rights leader, and business consultant will deliver the keynote speech. Meanwhile, Josie Robinson Johnson will be honored with the first-ever Lifetime Local Legend Award for her life-long dedication to education, civil rights, and social justice.
In effort to inspire others to make a difference in their communities, the General Mills Foundation is partnering with the nonprofit Hands On Twin Cities to introduce the Corporate Community Service Coalition. The coalition brings hundreds of employees from 13 Minnesota Fortune 500 companies together to volunteer not only on MLK day but throughout the week at local food banks, homeless shelters, and community centers, just to name a few. The goal is to make MLK Day all about serving and giving back to others.
“It’s cold as hell in January in Minneapolis, and 3,000 people get up and show up at a breakfast at 7 o’clock in the morning with great enthusiasm to honor Martin [every year],” Jordan says. “That tells me an awful lot about Minneapolis as a community.”
President and CEO of UNCF Michael Lomax adds, “An event like this reminds us of the cause of racial equality for which Dr. King lived and for which he died, and of how much he did in his short life to make that ideal real. It also reminds us of the work he left for us to do, and it brings together the kind of people – all of us here today – whom he depended on to finish the mission he began.”
To purchase tickets, visit www.mlkbreakfast.org. If you’re unable to attend the MLK Holiday Breakfast, you can still watch the event live here. To find a community breakfast near you, visit www.spacc.org/mlk.
For more information about the event, visit http://www.mlkbreakfast.com/Breakfast.aspx
Princess Gabbara is a 20-something Michigan-based journalist and freelance writer. As a graduate of Eastern Michigan University, she’s contributed to a host of publications, including Ebony.com, Essence.com, xoJane.com, ClutchMagOnline.com, ForHarriet.com, BlackDoctor.org, and Sesi Magazine. You can read more of her work on her blog. She also tweets @PrincessGabbara.