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Organizers prompt River Falls to live Martin Luther King dream

Samantha Jensen is shown receiving the Youth Community Service award from event organizer Kathy Scott, at last year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast. Jenson and her friend Hannah Bellrichard were honored for their work creating and running the Tri-Angels 5K, which raised funds for the Tri-Angels playground in 2013 and 2014. (River Falls Journal file photos)

For the ninth straight year, River Falls is getting ready to celebrate the life and message of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from 7-9:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 18, at St. Bridget Catholic Church, 211 East Division St.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of nonviolence, peaceful protest, and community service remains relevant today, said Kathy Scott. She leads a team of volunteers who plan the annual Martin Luther King Breakfast celebration in River Falls.

“There are still barriers,” Scott said. “The thing I really love about the Martin Luther King holiday is it talks about communities coming together, and community service and the human dignity of every single human being...

“It’s become known across the country as kind of a call to service to others, and I think River Falls is just an incredible place that lives Dr. King’s dream, because River Falls has so many agencies and services for people who are struggling in life.”

Each year, the breakfast supports one of those agencies, or services in River Falls.

This year, it will support the Assistance and Resource Center (ARC) of River Falls. ARC’s mission, according to its website, is “To provide short term financial assistance to members of the community to help meet their basic needs and provide access to additional resources.”

Visit for more information.

River Falls’ MLK breakfast is one of nine “neighborhood locations,” all coordinated with the main MLK holiday breakfast held in the Twin Cities.

Though it’s River Falls’s ninth year participating, it will be the 26th year overall, for the MLK breakfast.

Each year, the program centers around a different theme and keynote speaker. This year's theme is “Civil & Right: Are you living the dream?”

This year's keynote speaker is Deval Patrick, who served two terms as governor of Massachusetts. He was appointed Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, the nation’s top civil rights post, in 1994, by then President Bill Clinton.

Local breakfast attendees will hear Patrick’s speech via telecast.

The breakfast offers visitors more than a chance to see Patrick’s speech, and enjoy a meal. A full program is planned, including music by Carl Warren, who will also act as emcee, and the presentation of the youth services award --given to a youth for outstanding service to the community.

Last year’s winners were Samantha Jensen and Hannah Bellrichard for their work on the Tri-Angels 5k, family fun run at Hoffman Park. Winners of a youth poetry/essay contest will also be invited to share their poem/essays with the audience.

River Falls Lions Club is donating the meal. Teens as Teachers will volunteer to help serve the meal. Public Montessori students will create decorations for the tables. Hope Lutheran pastor Sandy Johnson will give a program blessing while Unitarian minister Nancy Holden will give a call to service.

Scott said the Lions Club is donating the breakfast, which means more of the money collected at the breakfast will go to ARC.

Tickets are a $5 donation and are available at Dish and the Spoon Cafe, and at the door.

For more information, visit

For more, see the Jan. 14 print issue of the River Falls Journal.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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