Community Unity: The Focus of 13th Annual MLK Day Breakfast

MLKThe community gathered on a cloudy morning to honor the legendary American hero, Martin Luther King (MLK), for the 13th Annual MLK community breakfast. In this online event attendees enjoyed speeches, prayers and awards given to commemorate King and his actions.

The event’s first speaker was Reverend James Brennan, president of the Berkeley School of Theology, who started off the morning with a beautiful prayer perfectly encompassing this year’s theme: Beyond the Dream- Embracing Unity.

Brennan was followed by Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín who discussed how we must learn to build unity in order to fix our divide in these polarizing times. Arreguín began his speech by quoting King “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools” was King’s remarkable statement on unity. Arreguín continuing his unifying speech, said, “We must embrace each other’s differences and embrace our rich diversity.”

Local leaders spoke throughout the event on the need for unity as well as the fight for equality. Many people in history and in these times, such as Martin Luther King, aim to create more just societies.

The event’s keynote speaker, Dr. Joseph Marshall Jr. – co-founder and executive director of the global violence prevention organization, Alive and Free – spoke about King’s life and achievements. From his time as a relatively unknown preacher in Montgomery, Alabama, all the way till his work in the civil rights movement. Marshall said, “He [King] really believed in America when others did not. He really believed in the Declaration of Independence when others paid only lip service. He really believed that all men are created equal.”

Black Student Union, BSUIn the spirit of social justice activism, awards were given to celebrate community members. Awards which celebrated young people in our community who are capable of organizing for social change, such as the “Next Generation” award, were given. Nonprofit organizations were also recognized when they were given the “Community Award” at the breakfast. The Berkeley High School Black Student Union, a group meant to support the academic, social and emotional wellbeing of black identifying students at Berkeley High, was acknowledged.

This event also featured performances from Young Gifted and Black, as well as the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble, which brought the uplifting breakfast to a close.

Young black & gifted performance

–Yuval Magidash



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