Portions of some of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous speeches played in the background of the serving area of the South Ormond Neighborhood Center during the city's annual breakfast celebration in his memory on Monday, Jan. 16.
For the second year in a row, the city and its MLK Committee held the breakfast in a "Dine and Dash" carry-out concept, due to concerns about rising COVID-19 cases. MLK Committee Chairperson Tina Carlyle, who is a registered nurse, said they wanted to be cautious again this year, since most of their attendees tend to be of an older demographic. The city has held an MLK breakfast celebration for over 30 years.
The committee planned to serve at least 250 people. Any leftovers would be donated to nearby churches to help feed the homeless or others in need.
It's a joyous celebration, Carlyle said.
"To see smiles on people's faces, to see cultures mend together, races mend together — that is very, very pleasing for me," she said.
She said she wishes that society would break away from highlighting unity only on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and instead display the qualities daily that King stood for: love, respect, kindness, dignity and compassion.
"You would think, all these years later that we would be in a better place than what they were back in those days," Carlyle said. "But I just feel like we've still got a lot of work to do when it comes to coming together, and loving on one another and treating each other as one, and acting as though we are one nation under God."
The MLK Committee hopes to return to its in-person breakfast celebration in 2024.