🎵💜 Worcester’s 24th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast

Text and photos by Ron O’Clair

I was pleased to attend this morning the City’s 24th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast held at Worcester State University on May Street.

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Dr. King at the Mountain Top…

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Friendly House long-time executive director, Gordon Hargrove, heads into the event.

The breakfast …

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Ronny’s breakfast at the event😏

… poetry readings, songs, ceremonies …

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The proud North High School Color Guard🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

… and award ceremony were held in the WSU building that formerly housed the Temple Emmanuel Synagogue, which is conveniently located for the community – at the intersection of Chandler and May streets.

There was a good, diverse, eclectic turnout – typical of Worcester!
There were, of course, several city officials: District Attorney Joe Early Jr., Mayor Joseph Petty …

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Retired WPS teacher Anne Marie Monfredo, her husband Worcester School Committee member John Monfredo, Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty

… Superintendent of Schools Maureen Binienda, City Councilors Rosen and King, School Committee members John Monfredo, Brian O’Connell and the recently elected Dante Comparetto. Also in attendance: various other persons of note from our fair city of Worcester, such as Friendly House’s Executive Director Gordon Hargrove, his sister Dorothy Hargrove, who coordinates and is one of the judges of this celebration’s student poetry contest …

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Dot Hargrove, a former reading teacher in the Worcester Public Schools, at the podium.

… community activist William S. Coleman III, and others.

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Bill Coleman, right, and James Bonds at a meeting working to rebuild and rededicate the CITY MONUMENT to the city’s WORLD WAR II Black soldiers. file pic

There were some folks who wore traditional dress from their country of origin, such as the lady I saw from Liberia wearing the fashion popular in that country. She declined my request for a photograph.

It gave me great pleasure to greet Mr. Ike McBride, community engagement director at the Worcester Boys and Girls Club, and his family.

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Ike McBride was honored at the event. Here he is with his children and wife.

McBride was an honored attendee – recipient of the MLK Jr. Youth Service Award for his longstanding efforts working with at-risk youth throughout our fair city of Worcester.

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Charles, Worcester Boys Club member! file pic

It was a great celebration in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and all the many contributions to our country that resulted from his non-violent activism that gave birth to and fueled the Civil Rights movement …

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Dr. King

… It was a struggle, the journey towards equality. Many – white and black – were jailed, beaten, died for the cause.

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Birmingham, 1963. photo: LIFE magazine

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… It was a brutal but empowering struggle. To raise the standard of working, housing, education, voting, LIVING, for people of color in these United States. In my own experience, I remember most vividly watching on television as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. urged people to judge his children based upon the content of their character, rather than the color of their skin. That resonated with my young mind, and I have striven to always do just that with people I meet. I believe we all should take that advice to heart and practice it in our daily lives.

We must look at the sum of a person’s character first, last and always.

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