Capitol Broadcasting Company proudly sponsored the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Triangle Interfaith Prayer Breakfast for the 28th time on Monday, January 19, 2015. A variety of leaders from different faiths offered up prayers while other community leaders offered words to mark the annual holiday. The program also included two stirring musical performances. The second hour of the program aired live on WRAL-TV, emceed by WRAL-TV Anchor David Crabtree. That broadcast ran again on FOX 50 at noon, while WRAL.com live-streamed the entire program.
The event featured UNC-Chapel Hill Professor Dr. James H. Johnson, Jr. as the keynote speaker. Johnson pondered, “What would keep Dr. King up at night?” and proceeded to talk about the Triple Whammy of Geographical Disadvantage. Johnson shared graphs, maps and charts with statistics about poverty and race. He spoke of how to respond to a crisis by leveraging the power of collective ambition
“We need a strategy,” said Johnson. “If you are afraid to push the envelope, we’ll never change.”
He noted that “enhancing educational outcomes for our most vulnerable children” is a crucial part of a solution.
“We can’t become complacent in following Dr. King’s dream. We must serve one another. In truth, one day a year is not enough. We must serve every day.”
– Roy Watson, Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC
An example of such a positive outcome with intervention took the podium earlier in the program, earning the first rousing ovation of the event. Rashonda Blue, a junior at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School shared an essay she’d written about her own experiences. A participant in the Clarence E. Lightner YMCA Achievers program, Blue told the crowd, “I wake up every morning determined not to be a statistic.”
Blue tearfully shared the statistic about the number of minority children born to incarcerated parents, and how she was one such child.
“The odds are against me,” she said. “But my parents’ past does not define me. It does one thing for me and it motivates me.”
She challenged, “We must start with a blueprint, a plan. Without a vision towards the future, hope is lost. Once a thought or plan has comes together but it must be acted upon. Now is not a time to give up or lose focus.”
The 35th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Prayer Breakfast took place at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Research Triangle Park, with doors opening at 6am.
“We cannot wait for the next Dr. King. . . It is our responsibility to honor Dr. King and carry his dream in our hearts and actions every day.”
– Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane
Because of the sponsorship of Capitol Broadcasting, the event, which includes a full breakfast, is free and open to the public. The YMCA of the Greater Triangle and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina served as broadcast sponsors this year, so thanks to their generous support thousands of Triangle citizens could watch the event from home on television or computer.