26th Annual Human Relations MLK Memorial BreakfastBy Alyssa Judd
Published: January 26, 2013
Thousands of Greensboro residents participated in events dedicated to the memory and mission of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, January 21. To commemorate his passion for freedom and equality, the City’s Human Relations Commission hosted its 26th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast at the Koury Convention Center.
The breakfast drew in hundreds of enthusiastic participants in Greensboro, where this year’s theme was “Reclaim Your Dream.”
“It’s amazing what people go through in order to achieve their dreams. You see me now, but 21 years ago in Lexington, I was homeless. The only way I got up was because I had to reclaim my dreams,” shared Anthony Knotts, senior past of The Embassy Church International. During his invocation he encouraged the community to pursue its own ambitions. “I came up with an acronym for DREAM I want to share with you, Do Relative Things Every Awaking Moment. I rose up from being homeless because I had a dream and I decided that I was going to do relative things every awaking moment. To do that you have to be who you are, use what you know, do what you can and finish what you start.”
The event program also included spiritual musical selections, an inspirational poem and the announcement of this year’s recipient of the Human Relations Award for outstanding community service. The award was bestowed upon Steven Still, a 10-year coordinator for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign in Greensboro, team leader for Night Watch and 2004 co-founder of the Salvation Army Ministry.
Still refused to accept the award solely on his own behalf. He attributed the award to like-minded men and women in the community who have a heart and passion to equip and enable those who have lost hope. He also thanked the Lord for his redemption from drug addiction and hopelessness. Still then asked the crowd to “keep up the good fight, that reclaiming the dream becomes possible for so many who have lost the courage to.”
A highlight of the early morning ceremony was the keynote speaker and former president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Kweisi Mfume. He also served as a member of the United States Congress during the terms of Reagan, Bush, Sr. and Clinton.
Mfume commended Martin Luther King, Jr. and those alike who suffered, believed and stood before others to implement a positive change in justice for the people of the U.S. He went on to explain how society must remember that Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t just a fuzzy image but a living individual who brought citizens’ attention to the inconsistencies in their society, in the hopes that generations would do better. The activist asserted that it is the responsibility of all generations to address issues affecting civilization and proclaim, “we have a problem.” “It’s okay to be upset about the unjust in the nation because problems won’t fix themselves without attention,” said Mfume.
Mfume shared a Greek legend with the crowd. The Greek philosopher in the tale said justice would never come until all those who are not injured are just as indignant as those who are. He said, “I hope and pray that those of you who are here today understand the indignity of others as results of racism, bigotry and mistreatment over many years and that this will cause you to be just as indignant with the things that are wrong. I hope and pray those of Asian, Hispanic or Native American ancestry understand the real need to never give up on the idea Dr. King taught on coalition building. To not only talk about individual problems and individual agendas but also to work in a broad based coalition of change. And I hope those of you of African ancestry understand the need to at some point in time get beyond blame, get beyond excuses and once again start doing for ourselves.”