Celebrating King's legacy in Cinnaminson

It was a way of reflecting upon the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and also of looking toward the future at the annual breakfast honoring the civil rights leader at Merion Caterers on Saturday morning.

The theme of the event, put on by the Pi Mu Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., was 'His dream, our reality.'

Guest speaker Assemblyman Troy Singleton, D-7th of Palmyra, said he thinks King would be at the forefront of today's social movements aimed at creating equality.

"I think Dr. King would be out there fighting trying to bring us together," he said. "I'm hoping people realize the dream lives on and the dream only lives if we continue to work.

Singleton said "we need more drum majors" to rally people to the cause of justice.

"I think we're at a crossroads in our country right now," he said. "I think there's a real challenge to make sure that we continue to strive to make a more perfect union by working together, ignoring the rhetoric and the sound bites that seek to divide us and really come together in a positive way to keep the legacy alive."

Katrina Wright, assistant recording secretary for Pi Mu Omega, is a member of the Martin Luther King committee that organizes the annual event.

Now in its 29th year, the breakfast draws about 500 attendees.

Wright said she sees a "disturbing trend" in America where people are judged solely by the color of their skin. Despite that, she is hopeful.

"Our best days are ahead of us but we are making progress," Wright said. "We have to educate people about the beauty of our diversity and the beauty of our differences."

She said diversity is what makes America great.

"Discrimination (and) harassment are all based on fear and when we fear people then we tend to not get to know who they are," Wright said.

Guest speaker Rev. Danny Scotton, Sr., pastor at the Alpha Baptist Church in Willingboro, said he has been attending the breakfasts for more than 20 years.

He said the advent of social media has changed the landscape because people instantaneously find out what's happening in the world.

"I think it puts things right to the forefront," Scotton said. "We know that someone is watching us all the time."

He said the ubiquity of cameras also gives people pause.

"I think it makes us mind our Ps and Qs," Scotton said.

While race relations are better now than in King's time, he said there is still some "structural racism" in the country.

Azzmeiah Vazquez-Ward, Pi Mu Omega chapter president, said the breakfast was initially started to give back to the community.

"We have a following because of our mission and honoring the rich legacy of Dr. King," said Vazquez-Ward, who was just sworn in this month. "Almost 50 years later since the assassination of Dr. King we still struggle to determine whether his dream is really our reality today."

So, how far have we come to realizing King's dream?

"We have a long way to go," Vazquez-Ward said. "I think we've come a long way but I don't know that it's there yet."

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