Marriott Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast

On Monday, January 21st, we attended the 19th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast celebration at the at the Marriott at Key Center which celebrated the 90th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We are proud to say that Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC was a “Drum Major Partner & Advertiser” for this event.

It was presented by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Scholarship Committee of Cleveland, Ohio chaired by Ms. Delores L. McCollum. The mission of this committee is to provide an honorable celebration of the life, work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and encourage historical research for written/visual creative expression by Northeast Ohio’s youth via scholarship. In addition, its contests promote the importance of life-long reading and learning and honor individuals and organizations whose work moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of the Beloved Community.

Miss Victoria Dunson and Miss Mackenzie Jergens (grades 7 and 6) each received a $500.00 scholarship for their submissions to the Happy Birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Card contest. In addition to them, eight other students (grades 3 to 10) were honored for taking part in this contest.  Reverend Mark Ribbons acted as celebration leader and started the program by asking us to turn our thoughts to the work and legacy of Dr. King.

Then, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, the Honorary Chair for this breakfast, gave a powerful speech in which he praised Dr. King for his establishment of common ground by recognizing and fighting for the worth and dignity of all working people regardless of race and gender. For this reason, U.S. Senator Brown believed Dr. King to be a genuine populist who brought people together, in contrast to President Trump who divides people with his disingenuous form of populism that largely increases the prosperity of the already well-to-do.

In one memorable moment, Reverend Dr. Otis Moss received one of the two “In the Footsteps of Dr. King” awards. Dr. Moss is Pastor Emeritus of the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church of Cleveland as well as a longtime friend of Dr. King who worked closely with him in the civil rights movement. Reverend Dr. Moss thanked those who had supported him over the years especially his wife Edwina; in fact, they were married by Dr. King, himself, over fifty years ago. He went on to thoughtfully maintain that an honor, such as the one that he was receiving, was a challenge to do something even greater.

Ms. Margaret Bernstein, Director of Advocacy and Community Initiatives at WKYC/TV-3 of NBC Cleveland, introduced Dr. Moss and upheld him as one of the “voices of reason” in Cleveland. She said that whenever she would call him regarding an important event, he would cut through the spin and tell her what he believed was actually taking place and the reasons behind it.

The other award recipient was the Lexington-Bell Community Center located in the Hough area which, as the program notes stated, has “provided quality social services to more than three generations of families who reside in the Greater Cleveland Area.”

As for the 2019 Class of MLK scholars, besides those who participated in the Birthday Card contest, several other students at college level were cited for their participation in the “Dear America…Love, Dr. King” essay contest. The format of this essay contest was employed by the Reverend Dr. Robin E. Hedgeman from the Bethany Christian Church when she gave the keynote speech. In the course of her own “Dear America…Love, Dr. King” address, Reverend Dr. Hedgeman reminded us that we are the custodians of Dr. King’s dream and in these divisive times we must continue to fight for it in but in non-violent ways as Dr. King would have wanted.

Of course, this will be difficult, especially  in these divisive times, but Reverend Dr. Hedgeman urged us not to forget that heroes like Ms. Harriet Tubman, who lead 500 people out of slavery, accomplished a lot with less resources than we have. Thus, we should not lose faith and must hold on to hope that enables us to continue.