Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast inspires huge Surry crowd

By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: February 4, 2020 | 3:15 p.m.

SURRY – Over 400 local citizens gathered at Luther Porter Jackson Middle School for the sold out 2020 Surry County NAACP Breakfast in Commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In what Surry County Assistant Superintendent Dr. Serbrenia Sims later described as “Such a jovial time for all who came,” the event offered an opportunity for attendees to connect with neighbors, friends, and family members in what she called “almost reunion style, with everyone anticipating – knowing – that we would have a wonderful speech as well as a great breakfast and a time to fellowship with others who were there.”

As a multitude of groups and organizations joined together with one voice, Sophomore Malachi Brown served as Master of Ceremony to lead those assembled through a celebration which began with the JROTC Color Guard Posting of the Colors. In the inspirational program that followed, so many other Surry County students led the way – like fifth grader student Lacien Shaw who led the invocation, third grader Jaliyah Edmonds-Brooks who shared scripture, and fifth grader Cayenne  Goston who delivered the welcome.  All three schools participated as one after another students of all ages students got to experience leading hundreds of adults in a joint celebration – and the adults got to watch the young people blossom.

Following the opening music, statement of occasion/purpose, litany of commemoration, and grace by more young people, the breakfast was served.  Then it was time for a presentation – Giving the Gift of Life – by LeeArjetta Hamilton, representative of The Links Inc., one of many service organizations represented at the event. Hamilton talked about the importance of organ and tissue donation and shared that she had donated her kidney to her husband, Stacey Hamilton. She urged those present to become donors, noting that African Americans in general are in need of tissue and organ donations, but are the least likely to be donors. She emphasized how important giving the gift of life is.

Finally, Kristie King, President of the Class of 2000 of Surry County High School, whose career has led her “from humble beginnings with Upward Bound at Virginia State University to matriculation and graduation from Harvard University” and “continues to advocate for educational reform through the lens of social justice and innovative measures in DC Public Schools” came forward to deliver the Commemoration Message, “If not for the dream.”

“My purpose in this life is to advocate, teach and lead others to utilize their voice in a way that transforms and impacts their vision of the world for good,” King said. “My purpose is for you to reflect, reimagine, and root your thoughts with action for days to come and create your vision for the world.”

NAACP Guest Speaker Kristie King supported by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc sisters

One of the more engaging parts of her address was an analogy related to the brush fires in Australia, where she described a Jack Pine tree that grows a very strong resin outside its cones to protect the seeds within the cone.  She emphasized that the protection is so strong that it’s only during times of great pressure from fires that the intensity is strong enough to make the cones release their seeds.  She explained how she sees a parallel to Dr. King’s dream, because he generated a theme that, under times of duress, people pick up that dream and have it manifest itself.  

“The dream remains dormant until times of pressure of stress,” she said, “and then those of us who are charged with that dream pick it up and move it forward. He planted seeds that laid dormant over the years and need a fire to directly and indirectly germinate for us.  We need his dreams to awaken and ignite the flame.  We have been the fire for many that have come before us and we will be the seed planters for the future behind us. The world right now is awaiting a fire. Awaiting a you, awaiting a me, awaiting a future of people to break the dormancy daily, decade after decade.”

“I’m one hundred percent certain the primary civil rights issue of contemporary society is equitable education for all children and the opportunity to fulfill their desires to achieve,” She added. “Education is the bedrock of our country’s political, economic, and social development. Regardless of race, creed, or color,” we have a civil responsibility to create space and an environment to ensure that all children receive an excellent education.”

Her address ended with thunderous applause from all gathered. 

Students from the audience pose with Thaddeus Lane, Surry County NAACP President, Speaker Kristie King and others.

Following the meeting, Sims described the NAACP Breakfast as “a day of dreaming and service.  Dreaming, because the title of the speech was If Not for the Dream and Day of Service because multiple service organizations came out – representatives from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, and The Links, Incorporated, to name a few. To see all these service organizations working together to support the annual NAACP Commemoration Breakfast for Dr. Martin Luther King was just a very special, inspirational thing.”

“And the speaker spoke directly to us as educators – as leaders – as well as to the students,” Sims continued.  “There were more people this year for the speakers, and more kids.  And I love the fact that all the kids came up to the stage and took a picture.  That’s the key – getting the next generation exposed to powerful messages.  And she did have a powerful message.”

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