Over 1,100 attendees filled the Expo Center at the Crowne Plaza Resort for the 36th annual community prayer breakfast celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Saturday, Jan. 14.
The theme of this year’s event was also a call to action: “Stand up, speak out and unfold the dream for today.”
The capacity crowd ate a hearty breakfast before turning its attention to a packed program. A children’s choir, the Celebration Singers, sang an African medley. Former Buncombe County Board of Commissioners Chair David Gantt received the Community Humanitarian Award for dedicated and continued service to the entire community from event founder and director Oralene Anderson Graves Simmons on behalf of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County.
Brianna Rock, the 2012 recipient of the group’s Martin Luther King, Jr. scholarship, shared how the community support offered through the scholarship has brought her closer to achieving her dream of becoming a doctor.
Keynote speaker, author, attorney and entrepreneur Patricia Russell-McCloud of Atlanta spoke passionately to the crowd. After opening her remarks with a recitation of Langston Hughes’ poem, “Crystal Stair,” Russell-McCloud encouraged the audience to act on the theme of the prayer breakfast. “I dare us, to stand up for fair play, an equal playing field and justice for all, not some,” she urged.
All photos by Cindy Kunst.
Additional coverage of Asheville’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations:
- Asheville events celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
- Buncombe County’s first African-American commissioner talks economic justice
- Still to come: Martin Luther King’s historic Montreat College speech