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Locals celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. on Jan. 21 with a breakfast, presentation and local awards.

Share the dream: Community breakfast feeds many needs

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News River Falls, 54022
River Falls Journal
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River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

The annual breakfast commemorating the life, works and philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr., delivers a package deal to attendees of all ages.

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The event honors a great man, caters to physical and spiritual hunger, benefits local food programs, encourages young poets, recognizes individuals of strong character, and brings together a group of harmonious singers to celebrate the day with songs.

At an event price of $5 per ticket, many would call that a pretty good deal.

Breakfast basics

The breakfast happens 7-9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21, St. Bridget Catholic Church fellowship hall, 211 E. Division St. All are welcome, but seating is limited.

Tickets are available now through Jan. 19 on a first-come first-served basis in several locations:

  • Dish and Spoon Café, 208 N. Main St.
  • Fox Den Used Books, 120 S. Main St.
  • Whole Earth Grocery, 126 S. Main St.

People may also call breakfast organizer Kathy Scott at 715-426-3510 to hold tickets at the door.

Proceeds from the breakfast benefit the River Falls Community Food Pantry and the Kinnickinnic Backpack Program.

RFCPF is the local food shelf, and the backpack program -- managed by the emergency shelter Our Neighbors' Place -- provides packable food for the weekends to school-age children who do not have enough at home.

MLK breakfast organizers seek "I have a dream" sponsorships for $40 and welcome free-will donations for future events. An attendee's $5 ticket buys them a hot breakfast including vegan options and beverages plus an up-front seat to see local presentations and a broadcast from the 'main MLK event' in downtown Minneapolis.

General Mills and the United Negro College Fund provide sponsorship for the bigger breakfast, which has not only grown to a convention-sized event with more than 2,000 people but has also spawned more smaller events at several locations throughout the Twin Cities area.

The keynote speaker for the day is Marian Wright Edelman, a children's rights activist who founded and leads the Children's Defense Fund. Edelman has also received a Presidential Medal of Freedom and an Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism.

The champion of children is credited with many quotes, such as, "Being considerate of others will take your children further in life than any college degree," and "Learn to be quiet enough to hear the genuine within yourself so that you can hear it in others."

Recurring theme

As they have each year, MLK breakfast flyers feature a quote by King:

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character -- that is true education."

The quote follows this year's breakfast title and theme: Education, the Fierce Urgency of Now."

Local groups of kids and adults volunteers do everything from create custom placemats and brew coffee for breakfast to serve food and publicize the event. Local singers from many different venues and backgrounds organize and practice to fill the morning with song.

Nominations and poetic creations are sought for a breakfast-related competition, too.

Youth poetry or essays of 500 words or less may be submitted by kids in grades K-12 before Jan. 14 and must address the question of "what does the breakfast theme mean to you?" Send writings to Liz Swank at lizswank@hotmail.com or call her at 920-203-5008. Selected authors will read their pieces at the event.

Community service awards, previously named emerging legends award, honor young people age 21 or under who have demonstrated extraordinary service and leadership. Two youths will be selected, and completed nomination forms must arrive by Jan. 10.

Nomination forms and more information about the MLK Breakfast event are available at St. Bridget's web site - www.saintbridgets.org.

MLK breakfast creative sampling

Gavin Erickson serves as a youth representative on the committee to organize the 2013 MLK breakfast. He also submitted an essay for last year's breakfast, "My Solution to Racism," that organizers say "brought down the house" when he read it.

Erickson's essay says:

"The day I realized that I was different from most everybody, a minority, in River Falls was back in 2nd grade at Kids' Club. When I asked if I could play with a boy's toy, he said, "No, my dad doesn't allow black kids to play with it." I've experienced enough racism in my life to know that it still affects people today. If you think that our world has no prejudice, no discrimination, or no racism going on, you are surely mistaken.

I'm here to talk to you today about what racism is, why many people still discriminate, and how we can solve the problem. First, I'd like to tell you what racism is. Racism is hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

One time in 6th grade when I was getting on the bus, a "big" eighth grader stood up and pointed at me, saying, "Darkies belong at the back of the bus." I went and sat down at the back of the bus, and as I looked out my window, I could see the "N WORD, nigger" written in the fog on the window. I immediately wiped it off. I was afraid to stand up to him being a 6th grader, so I rode the bus home, uncomfortable, thinking about what I could possibly have done to deserve this racist treatment.

The truth is, I hadn't done anything. Nobody ever does anything to deserve racism. In fact, the kid that said that to me didn't really even know me. To me, he seemed to be prejudice against, stereotyping, all blacks. He didn't take the opportunity to know me, put black or white aside, respect and love the human race.

This is a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "I have a dream that one day in Alabama little black boys and little black girls will join hands with little white boys and little white girls as sisters and brother." The "white only" signs have come down, but are we standing hand in hand yet?

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report in 2006, 2,640 hate crimes against African Americans were committed, and it doesn't stop there. Hispanics, Asians, gays, lesbians, almost every minority has fallen victim to prejudice and discrimination. Would you like to know why? Most of the time people generalize other groups of people without ever realizing it.

If one black person commits a crime, some would say all blacks are criminals. If someone sees an illegal Mexican immigrant on the news, some will think that all Hispanics are here illegally. If one Muslim is a terrorist, some would say all Muslims are terrorists and not to be trusted. Just because someone that is of a different ethnicity than you does something socially unacceptable, don't ever assume that the whole race makes the same mistakes.

Finally, my solution to racism. Almost all hate in this world comes from ignorance. If we educate people about cultures in our world, there will be less hate and more love and respect.

I feel that there should be more time in school classes spent on learning about different cultures of people. Think about a tomorrow where racism, prejudice or discrimination doesn't exist. I challenge you, the community of River Falls, to embrace diversity, setting aside the color of people's skin and their cultural differences. Embrace Asians, Hispanics, blacks, whites, and many more in all aspects of their lives.

And respect the most important race of them all, the human race."

Poem by Lana Rubinstein

Unity and Justice

Words spoken with great dignity,

Reach for the souls in need.

Hope blossomed from inspirational words,

All from the source of a seed.

Within these words was a battle cry,

For hope, freedom and peace.

He spoke of unfairness, and mistreated lives.

Hoping injustice would cease.

Praying and hoping for a better life,

He spoke on behalf of equality.

Wishing that everybody could have a better life,

For now and all eternity.

Treat others as you would like to be treated,

Look at this quote with open eyes.

How would you feel if you were the one,

That was treated with deceit and lies?

Unity and peace go hand in hand,

Clearing the way for love.

Injustice will be down buried underground,

And beautiful justice will shine from above.

Justice and peace can create a world,

Where you can say what you want to say.

You will not be judged by your race,

I know it will happen someday.

Lana was a 9th grader at the time of this writing.

Poem by Mikaylah Whitebear

Life is Too Short

Family

Is it worth being mad at them?

Life is too short to get mad

About things that don't matter,

That's why we should all have

Peace,

And be nice to everyone,

Forgive and forget,

And be friends with strangers,

Get out of our comfort zones,

And make a difference,

Right Here, right now.

Mikaylah was a 6th grader when she wrote this poem last year.

Poem by Josh Baillargeon

Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King,

Was a great man,

He fought with his words,

But not with his hand.

He did not believe in fighting,

He did not believe in war

He tried so hard to stop it,

That he couldn't have tried more.

So believe in this man,

Believe in what he's done,

Believe for a better world,

Believe, everyone.

Josh was a 5th grader at the time of this writing.

Poem by Riley Endries

Unity

Unity

Is the feeling

Of being together

Sharing friendships

And keeping secrets

Unity

Is including

Your friends

At recess

And wherever

You are

Whenever they

Need you.

Riley was a 4th grader at the time of this writing.

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