Speakers at the St. Mary’s College of Maryland Martin Luther King, Jr., Prayer Breakfast Monday, January 16, urged the audience to use the spirit of King to affect change, both at home and more broadly during this election year. The eighth annual breakfast in the college’s J. Frank Raley Great Room included speeches by Congressman Steny Hoyer and keynote speaker Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq., national chair of the National Congress of Black Women, and uplifting music by the Spring Ridge Middle School Rhythm Club, the St. Mary’s College Gospel Choir, and First Missionary Baptist Church Youth Choir.
“We are in church with love on our lips, then we go out and have hate in our hearts,” Williams told the crowd. “Everyone is responsible to make change.” She asked people to think back to the civil rights movement: “Some people died so we could have a better life. So many worked to make us a free and equal nation.”
Hoyer talked of being moved at the recent dedication of the new MLK memorial on the Washington, D.C., Mall. “14,303 days. …Those were the days the Lord gave him, and my, my, how well he used those 14,303 days! We pause today to thank God for sending Martin Luther King to us.”
College President Joseph Urgo also speaks of visiting the memorial. “I visited the Martin Luther King, Jr., monument in Washington, D.C., this past December. It is an unnerving testimonial in some ways. Something is holding Dr. King back; he stands with arms crossed, emerging from this large white massive stone – but is he falling back or moving forward? Is this man trapped in what lies behind him, or is he emerging from that past to define the future, as if to fulfill a dream?
“The tradition of a prayer breakfast on Martin Luther King Day is appropriate to Dr. King’s legacy. We have work to do; let’s draw strength from our sense of a higher power, and then let’s get to it.”
The audience included state officials, county commissioners, board of education members, the community, and St. Mary’s College students.