‘A community coming together’: 36th Annual MLK Breakfast kicks off in person after pandemic

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The city of Jacksonville hosted the 36th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast in person at the Prime Osborn Center after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hundreds of people attended the breakfast as they honored organizations and students who are continuing Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy.

Duval Soil & Water Conservation District Duval Commissioner Ashantae Green said she has attended this breakfast since she was a kid.

“Not only honoring the legacy of the great party you are but being able to show excellence and being able to honor the community leaders and to hear inspirational stories of perseverance is so important, especially during this time after the wake of COVID. We just need as much positivity as possible,” Green said.

This year’s keynote speaker Simon Bailey said this is a way to bring the community together to celebrate King.

“To really step back and celebrate all the things that make Jacksonville awesome and powerful, a community coming together”, Bailey says. “It doesn’t matter what ethnicity or side of the tracks people are from. We can come together in unity and celebrate how we live a dream,” Bailey said.

Those in attendance were also able to hear the national anthem and the negro national anthem performed by the student group Don’t Miss a Beat All-Stars who said they are grateful for the opportunity.

“I didn’t think I will be able to actually do stuff like this because I didn’t grow up knowing people that can actually help me, like showcase my voice around the world,” a Don’t Miss a Beat All-Star member told News4JAX. “So I’m glad to be with them.”

They even left a message for other students:

“If you find yourself with people that want to help you if you find yourself with people that like put forth the effort to try to give you a chance, take that chance because you don’t know whether or not you get to do the things that you love, or like you get opportunities that you never had before and you didn’t know. If you have a dream, you know, run with it, because you never know where it could take you,” another member said.

The breakfast is an empowering legacy that the community hopes to continue.