Early Risers Honor MLK at Annual Breakfast

The UMKC community experienced a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. at 2017’s Annual Freedom Breakfast, this past Wednesday morning. The tribute featured members from The African-American Student Union (TAASU) and other eminent speakers including Chancellor Leo Morton and a local pastor, A.D. Stephenson III, of the City of Truth Church.

Malik Dunn, Treasurer for TASSU, was the introductory speaker for the event. Immediately following Dunn was Chancellor Morton.

“It’s a job that we’ll be working on for a long time to come”, said Morton, speaking about the promotion of diversity at UMKC.

Next, UMKC student Brandon Woods gave a short but energetic speech. He emphasized the equality of everyone.

“We are all God’s children by nature!” He also mentioned his enthusiasm for then-President Obama and his prominent campaign slogan, “Yes We Can.”

The main speaker of the event was pastor A.D. Stephenson, or “AD3” as he is colloquially referred to. Stephenson had one main point in his rousing and energetic lecture – that hope was quintessential.

“It’s not an Instagram post,” Stephenson acknowledged, recognizing the importance of social media in starting conversations and sharing ideas. But he also emphasized the role of hope in people’s lives on a more personal, face to face level.

Stephenson also quoted Martin Luther King Jr. in his speech, finding a particularly evocative sentiment in one of his more well-known quotes, “Only in darkness can you see the stars.“ This was tied to Stephenson’s recurring theme of hope, especially in tumultuous times.

Brianna Wright, a Herman Johnson scholar at UMKC, had her own pertinent thoughts about MLK and race relations. In her short monologue she mentioned the names of people who had died at the hands of police brutality, like Alton Sterling. Brianna was also thankful for the outstanding role of her supportive parents.

Dunn was enthusiastic about Woods’ charismatic performance.

“I thought the whole thing went flawlessly but what stood out the most was Brandon’s powerful speech,” said Dunn.

Associate Dean John Herron was also pleased with the overall quality of the event.

“The fact that UMKC students do all of the planning and coordination makes this event even more impressive,” he said.



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