Almost 2,000 people filled the Sheraton Imperial ballrooms in RTP to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. bright and early on his National holiday. Capitol Broadcasting served as presenting sponsor for the 38th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Triangle Interfaith Prayer Breakfast on Monday, January 15, 2018. CBC has proudly sponsored the event for over three decades.
The breakfast, along with the three days of celebrations coordinated by the Triangle Martin Luther King Jr. Committee, featured the theme “Strength to Love, Courage to Act”
“In all that we do, we must give back,” said youth speaker Camryn Green as she set the tone for the morning event. The 13-year-old eighth grader shared about her work in art and writing that she has turned into a business.
“Dr. King gave us the urgency to move towards our dreams,” she said, as she stood as a shining example of pursuing dreams while contributing to the community. She donates a portion of the earnings from her paintings and book to different causes.
The first half of the program also included a musical tribute from the Triangle’s own Rozlyn Sorrell and videotaped greetings from the mayors of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.
“It’s about how we get past our differences and focus on ourselves together,” said Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane. “We are all on the same ship now. Each of us is doing the best we can every day in his [Dr. King’s] memory.”
AT&T North Carolina President Venessa Harrison addressed why the MLK holiday is celebrated.
“2018 is the year to be intentional and engaged” she said. “It took collective engagement to make this day a holiday.”
She also charged the crowd saying, “Diversity is more than the right thing to do, it is essential.”
“King challenged us to harness courage as the power of the mind to overcome fear. The power of life to affirm itself in spite of life’s ambiguities. He taught us that courage summons the exercise of a creative will from which we can hew out the stone of hope from a mountain of despair.”
– Rabbi Lucy Dinner
The second hour of the program aired live on WRAL-TV. WRAL-TV Anchor David Crabtree opened the broadcast.
“May we remain as one every day of our lives,” he told the crowd. “It is a new year. It is a year in which words matter more than they ever have before.”
After Crabtree offered up his thoughts on the day, he introduced a variety of clergy from around the Triangle. Leaders of different faiths offered up prayers on a different topics as is the custom at the breakfast.
Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama, the new Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, attended the breakfast for the first time.
“It is not enough to be here and speak about love. We need to go out and love,” he challenged.
Rabbi Lucy Dinner, Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth Or in Raleigh delivered the keynote for the 2018 MLK breakfast. She is a long-time attendee of the event and usually delivers one of the many prayers offered up by clergy.
She spoke of love.
“Authentic love gives and forgives,” she explained as she read the scriptures on love including , “Love your neighbor as yourself” and “Love the Lord your God with all your heart.”
Dinner spoke of love not being passive.
“Love is an active, all-in verb,” she said. “Loving your neighbor, standing up for your neighbor.”
She then turned to talk about fear, and how feeling safe must happen before a person can feel love.
“Dr. King taught us we can master fear through courage,” she said.
Dinner also advocated for self-love, not selfishness, but said being loving to ourselves will help us treat others lovingly.
“We cannot afford for love to be a finicky thing,” she said.
And finally she encouraged the crowd to have an “active love” and to acknowledge our enemies as human beings as well.
She spoke of King’s words saying, “He said, ‘Hatred and bitterness can never cure the disease of fear. Only love can do that.’ He said hatred paralyzes and love releases. Hatred confuses and love harmonizes. Hatred darkens life and love illumines. Loving your neighbor means responding to hatred not with hatred but with love.”
WRAL-TV aired the majority of the MLK Triangle Interfaith Breakfast live from 8:00-9:00am on WRAL-TV, and live-streamed the program in its entirety on WRAL.com. The program also aired on FOX 50 at noon.
SLIDESHOW: 38th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Triangle Interfaith Prayer Breakfast