DePaul honors MLK with Prayer Breakfast

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have turned 91 yesterday.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have turned 91 yesterday.

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DePaul University hosted its 23rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast on Tuesday, which included a step performance, live poetry and keynote speaker LaTosha Brown.

DePaul officially made MLK Day a holiday, so the university is closed on that Monday. The breakfast is held the day after so all can attend and enjoy some free breakfast, but, more importantly honor King and remind the DePaul community there is still more work to be done.  

There was a range of energy and emotion in the performances. Sandra Bowen sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is commonly known as the black national anthem. TTS students Gabriella Mendoza, Kidjie Boyer and Jasmine Rush enthusiastically read poems from black female poets from the likes of Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde and Maya Angelou. Their voices resonated and emphasized how impactful poetry read aloud can be to an audience. Alpha Phi Alpha, the fraternity King was a member of which has a chapter at DePaul, performed an invigorating step dance that really made the room come alive shortly before the Prayer Breakfast was over. That extra burst of energy gave everyone the fire to go do something MLK would be proud of.

Brown’s main question she posed to the audience was, “Where do we go from here?”  She gave many possible answers to that question. Brown is the co-founder of Black Voters Matter, “an organization dedicated to increasing the political power of black people,” according to the Prayer Breakfast pamphlet.  During her presentation, she asked the audience, “Can you envision America without racism right now?” Almost no one could raise their hand and say, “Yes.”  

“How can you end racism when we can’t envision America without racism. You can’t create what you can’t envision,” Brown said.  

Brown encouraged the audience while closing her presentation in using radical reimagination in order to start creating, finding a role in something that one is called to do and to ask how to embody love and power in that role and in life.

Will Bearfield works in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at DePaul and uses King’s mission in his career everyday working to diversify DePaul and create an atmosphere of knowledge and sharing ideas.  

“College is about enlightenment and I think MLK wanted us to be around people that are different than us,” he said.

Mason Abernethy is a freshman in the EDGE program in attendance. Abernethy admires King for a variety of reasons and wanted to learn more about how his generation at DePaul can continue King’s legacy.  

“King wanted integration with peaceful protests that reflected open and accepting energy,” he said. “DePaul has those same values and encourages people to find where they fit in so they can really be who they want to be.”

The Prayer Breakfast left an impact on all who attended and was a great reminder for DePaul to continue to do better.