Tuesday, January 18, 2011

41st Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast, Boston Convention Center

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

My morning got off to the most amazing start yesterday. 

This was my first year attending the Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. 

By chance I came across an announcement for the event in the Boston Business Journal a few weeks ago during my lunch hour. I'd been so disheartened by some mean-spirited comments I'd come across in the "comments sections" of articles I'd read on-line discussing immigration, and others referencing the recent banning of Ethnic Studies by the state of Arizona, that when I saw Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s image emblazoned on the half-page ad, I told myself I had to go.

So I went.


I didn't know what to expect and was immediately overwhelmed by the number of people I encountered in the lobby. The room of 1,000 attendees was as ethnically diverse as the recipients of the many scholarships awarded that morning.

To my surprise, the State of Massachusett's newly elected Auditor Suzanne Bump sat to my left, and a retired school teacher who'd taught English for thirty-years and had not missed the event since its first year, sat to my right.

And although I came away from the event feeling uplifted, I was still troubled. Why? Because even with all the progress we've made in our country, intolerance and hate-speech really haven't changed.

The questions weighing heavily on me, as asked by key-note speaker Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry, Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University, when quoting King:

"Where do we go from here?"

... Chaos or Community?

I bet you probably already know which way I'd like to see our beloved country go.
"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Some pictures from the event: Boston Herald
Clip of Dr. Harris-Perry's address on Boston Channel

Relevant Articles: