Building Trust & Community is a prerequisite in the pursuit of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Beloved Community". Just as those before us valiantly came together for justice in places such as Montgomery, Birmingham, Selma and Memphis to secure human dignity, we too come together in an effort to achieve a reconciled world, creating an environment where justice prevails and individuals attain their full potential.
Started in 2012 by a diverse group of East Bay citizens to both celebrate and continue the work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., this annual event has grown into a exuberant gathering that captures the spirit of the joyful society that Dr. King championed and envisioned. Each year, hundreds of community members gather to start this day celebrating Dr. King with conversation, breakfast, speeches, songs and tributes.
The energy and enthusiasm present at the event signals a desire for fellowship in our community and a willingness to continue the work of our civil rights heroes. And with the generosity of our sponsors and participants, this has become a beloved annual event by all who attend.
And we encourage participation of young leaders in our community through student awards as we strive to inspire the next generation.
Fred Fassett, Roger Gould, Cynthia Harris, Jackie Hammond, Karen Hemphill, Tasha Henneman, Dru Howard, Anthony Hughes, Karina Ioffee, Ruben Lizardo, Gregory Magofña, Carolyn Mims, Diane Rames, Maxim Schrogin
Brandi Campbell, Fred Fassett, Roger Gould, Cynthia Harris, Karen Hemphill, Tasha Henneman, Dru Howard, Anthony Hughes, Ruben Lizardo, Gregory Magofña, Michael Meehan, Carolyn Mims, Diane Rames, Maxim Schrogin, Julie Sinai
How It All Began
The genesis of Berkeley’s first Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Breakfast was a telephone call in November, 2010 from Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan to Pastor Leslie White of the St. Paul AME Church in South Berkeley.
Chief Meehan and Pastor White were aware of Martin Luther King, Jr. celebrations in other communities and both believed that Berkeley should have one of its own. After discussing different ideas and possibilities they began speaking with other community leaders. There was significant enthusiasm for the idea, but also concern that it would be very difficult to hold the event in January, just two months away.
Instead, a small working group met for breakfast at Skates on the Bay on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 17, 2011. The group consisted of Pastor White, Chief Meehan, Captain Cynthia Harris, Pastor Brian Hunter, Pastor Michael McBride, Pastor Michael Smith, Associate Chancellor Linda Williams and Pastor Kelly Woods. The group jointly decided to organize Berkeley’s first MLK Community Breakfast beginning in January of 2012.
As time went by, it became apparent additional volunteers would be needed to hold and sustain the event and the working group expanded to include a number of willing and enthusiastic people including Anton Burrell, Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action; John Caner, Downtown Business Association; John DeClercq, Berkeley Chamber of Commerce; Carolyn Henry-Golphin, First AME Church; Julie Sinai, then Chief of Staff for Mayor Tom Bates; and Malaga Smith, Malaga Corp. Communications.
After many meetings and much work the 1st Annual Berkeley Community Breakfast commemorating and celebrating the life and work of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was held on January 16, 2012 at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza ballroom and was attended by approximately 160 faith, civic, and community leaders.
This event could not have happened without the energy, expertise and ideas of a committed team of volunteers. Each had a strong desire to create a sustainable, first-class, community celebration—Berkeley’s first annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Breakfast!