Twin Cities residents gathered Monday morning for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast hosted by General Mills and the United Negro College Fund to honor the civil rights leader under the theme “Keep Moving On.”
People gathered at the Minneapolis Convention Center for the event after celebrating remotely in 2021 and 2022. They watched speeches and musical performances and celebrated King’s legacy leading the civil rights movement. The event also raised money for the fund to attend historically black colleges and universities and to honor program scholars.
“There is a powerful stranglehold on the status quo,” said keynote speaker Valerie Jarrett, CEO of the Obama Foundation and former senior adviser to President Obama. “One of the many lessons I learned in Washington is that the only way things happen is we the people demanded it happen and we can do it nonviolently, we can do it. do with our voices…but it takes time.”
She recalled King’s words, saying “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”.
Many see what is happening in the world and in their hometown “and we are left with a sense of hopelessness… how can we really progress?” Jarrett said. “Remember this bow is long, but it will bend much harder and faster with each of you.”
She urged the public to appreciate the presence of a monument to King on the National Mall and a national holiday in his honor, even though he was reviled during his fight for civil rights.
“This holiday is a time to celebrate and motivate us to want to move forward,” Jarrett said.
She told people they don’t have to be the President of the United States to make a difference in someone’s life – it can be as simple as knocking on a neighbor’s door and to ask him if he’s okay.
Among the hundreds of attendees were Governor Tim Walz, Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, Senator Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Senate President Bobby Joe Champion and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.
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