“From Resistance to Representation: Black Women Proving the Dream” is this year’s theme
The 52nd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast will be held on Jan.. 17 as an online-only event. While planners originally intended to hold a hybrid program, conducted virtually and at the Boston Convention Center, the surge in the coronavirus has necessitated the move to the completely virtual format. Viewers are invited to attend over Zoom and to bring their breakfast with them. Keynote speaker Professor Annette Gordon-Reed, author of Pulitzer prize winning “On Juneteenth” will be featured. Boston Globe senior opinion editor Kimberly Atkins Stohr will also preside. There will be musical interludes and performances from the Berklee Institute for Jazz and Gender Justice, with an “inspiration rendition” of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” by “Sweet Lamb” Lauren Britt.
The MLK Memorial Breakfast has had a long tradition, having begun in 1970, shortly after King’s assassination. 52 years later, the collaboration between the St. Cyprians Episcopal Church and the Union United Methodist Church is still strong, said MLK Memorial Breakfast Event Liaison Melissa Pearson. She spoke to how this year’s program will be different, with its focus on the strength and resilience of Black women.
“Last year, the pandemic presented a challenge, because we couldn’t go back to the Convention Center. But we didn’t want to lose momentum of the audience and the day. It’s such an inspirational time, because a lot of what MLK stood for and worked for are remaining challenges for the community. People look forward to it every year. Last year, we made our first foray into the virtual space. It went well, but there are some particular challenges that come with the online environment. … This year, we did two things. We wanted to create a theme around Black women this year, because one, we know that Black women were so essential to the arc of civil rights justice. From the days of Rosa Parks … and Ella Baker, who were essential in King’s movement … to now, Black women who really represent social engagement and political representation … that’s our theme.” She added, “Two, we decided that rather than just focusing on King’s birth, we would extend the programming from his birth to his death. So we imagined three separate events.”
Pearson noted that there will be programming on March 15 and also on April 4, the day of King’s assassination.
Shira Laucharoen is a reporter based in Boston. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. In the past she has written for Sampan newspaper, The Somerville Times, Scout Magazine, Boston Magazine, and WBUR.