Dec. 15, 2011
Ticket sales are under way for the 31st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast on Monday, Jan. 16, on the Anne Arundel Community College Arnold campus.
Doors open at 7:30 a.m. in the David S. Jenkins Gymnasium, with the breakfast program beginning at 8 a.m. Highlighting the event as keynote speaker is Maryland Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, the ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. During his 14 years in the Maryland House of Delegates, Cummings chaired the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus and was the first African American in Maryland history named Speaker Pro Tem, the second highest role in the House of Delegates.
Several changes are in store for those attending the breakfast. New this year is an exhibit and awards program stemming from the “Visionary Kids Contest,” a performing and visual arts contest for middle and high school students. The contest attracted 148 individual entries – 76 written pieces, including essays and poetry; 44 art entries ranging from posters to sculpture; 14 multimedia pieces; and 14 performance art entries.
“We hope this effort helped connect our youth with the history behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and helped bring his story to life,” said new breakfast committee chair Eugene Peterson. “We fear that all too often today, our youth see Dr. King as a mythical stereotype or a cartoon character rather than the man who literally changed the face of American society.”
The breakfast committee will recognize winners of awards given in each contest category and encourage those at the event to view contest entries on display. The entries focused on the theme “Marching in his footsteps: Continuing the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”
Another change puts the breakfast event’s master of ceremony role in the hands of two students: Jillian Buck, student member of the Anne Arundel County Board of Education, and Phebe Ferguson, president of the Meade High School Class of 2012.
The event includes six community awards. The awards and recipients are:
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Zeitgeist Award, AACC Black Student Union – Arlene Bayron-Fogg, a retention adviser for the Anne Arundel Community College Student Achievement and Success Program since January 2009.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award, Anne Arundel Coalition of Tenants Inc. – Joshua J. Cohen, mayor of Annapolis, a two-term city alderman for Eastport and one-term Anne Arundel County Council member.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award, City of Annapolis Human Relations Commission – Deborah A. Johnson, a volunteer for Helping Hand Inc. since the 1980s, a community activist and since October 2010, a member of the Annapolis Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.
Dallas G. Pace Sr. Humanitarian Award, Anne Arundel County Human Relations Commission -- Romaine Parker, a 24-year Foster Grandparent Program volunteer who has contributed more than 7,559 hours as a mentor to area youth.
Leon H. White Clergy Memorial Award, United Christian Clergy Alliance of Anne Arundel County -- The Rev. Herbert W. Watson Jr., minister at St. Mark United Methodist Church in Hanover and chaplain coordinator for the Baltimore County police and fire departments.
George H. Phelps Jr. Distinguished Citizen Award, Anne Arundel County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People -- John W. Wilson, executive director of RESPECT for a decade, a life member with committee leadership roles with the Anne Arundel County branch of the NAACP and a former deputy director and chairman of the Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) for Anne Arundel County.
MLK Breakfast event proceeds will help maintain the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the Anne Arundel Community College Arnold campus. Tickets are $35 or $350 for table of 10. To buy tickets or to RSVP by Jan. 6, contact Erica Matthews at 410-626-1900 ext. 1022; Dianne Williams at 410-222-5354 or Darlene Robinson at 443-481-1961.