January 17, 2011 05:03 PM Eastern Time
Mayor of Newark, N.J., Cory Booker Speaks at 21st Anniversary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast
MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–At the 21st annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast today Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, N.J., inspired a sold-out audience of nearly 2,000 people to stand up and “do something.”
“It is our time now. We must stand up because others stood for us.”
“You can’t expect the world to change if you stay the same,” he said at the Minneapolis Convention Center this morning. He acknowledged that while he was not alive during King’s lifetime, that his parents brought him up with an awareness of the struggles that came before him and of the duty he has to continue to realize King’s dream through community action and service. “It is our time now. We must stand up because others stood for us.”
The theme of the 2011 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast was “The Dream: Rejoice, Reclaim, Renew Community.” Booker drew on his experience of helping to reclaim and renew the city of Newark to encourage the audience to actualize positive social change by leading by example and getting involved.
The 2011 breakfast also featured remarks from Dr. Michael Lomax, UNCF president and chief executive officer.
In his remarks, Lomax touched on the critical role education plays in living out King’s dream. “Among the rights Dr. King fought for was the right to an education,” he said. “But his life was tragically cut short before he could lead us in the fight to afford the college education we needed, and the right to attend public schools that would prepare us to gain admission to and graduate from the colleges we had the legal right to attend. That battle he left for us.”
The breakfast got its start when UNCF and the General Mills Foundation joined together to host a community celebration to honor the legacy of King. What started with 800 guests in 1991 now has grown to be one of the largest King holiday breakfasts in the nation. Past speakers have included Gen. Colin Powell, USA (Ret), the late Yolanda King and U.S. Rep. John Lewis. Learn more at mlkbreakfast.org.
Keeping with tradition, the breakfast was broadcast live on Twin Cities Public Television and will be rebroadcast on the statewide Minnesota channel several times in the coming days.
The 2011 breakfast included performances from singer Paris Bennett and actors from the SteppingStone Theatre for Youth Development.
The breakfast also featured the presentation of the Local Legend and Emerging Legend community service awards. This year’s Emerging Legend winner is Brandon Hill, a senior at Eden Prairie High School. The Local Legend winners are Father Kevin McDonough, pastor at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church and Sagrado Corazon de Jesus Catholic Church; and Andy Wells, owner and president of Wells Technology.
As in past years, the St. Paul Area Council of Churches hosted six simultaneous free breakfasts that allowed guests to watch the event on television. More information on these sites is available at spacc.org.
UNCF—the United Negro College Fund—is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 39 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 18 percent of African-American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org.
ABOUT THE GENERAL MILLS FOUNDATION
The mission of the General Mills Foundation, celebrating 56 years of giving, is to nourish communities. In fiscal 2010, General Mills awarded more than $100 million to communities across the country, representing more than 5 percent of company pretax profits. Of the total, the Foundation contributed $22 million in grants in the targeted areas of hunger and nutrition wellness, and K-12 education. In addition, 82 percent of U.S. employees volunteer in the communities where they live and work. More information is available at GeneralMills.com/Foundation.