On Jan. 20, Missouri Southern will host the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast to honor a great man dedicated to the ideas of unity, purpose and service.  We will gather to remember, celebrate and to act to move our community and nation closer to the “Beloved Community” that Dr. King envisioned.

Faustina Abrahams

Faustina Abrahams

Dr. King devoted his life’s work to causes of equality and social justice. He taught that through nonviolence and service to one another, problems such as hunger and homelessness, prejudice and discrimination can be overcome. His teachings can continue to guide us in addressing our nation’s most pressing needs – poverty, economic insecurity, job loss and education.

Dr. King recognized the power of service to strengthen communities and achieve common goals. Through his words and example, he challenged individuals to take action and lift up their neighbors and communities through service. This Day of Service is a way for us to act on the life and teachings of Dr. King.  In an interview with Ebony magazine, his widow, Coretta King, stated: “We have called for people to remember to celebrate, and most importantly to act – now we should ask people to commemorate his life with some form of service and give back to the community.”

For the first time in 17 years since MSSU has been holding this event, the campus will be closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so the program is taking on a new approach.

Since the primary focus of the day has been to encourage individuals to serve their community, we will start the program with the annual breakfast on Jan. 20, followed by a Volunteer Fair on Jan. 21 and wrap up with additional inspirational presentations on Jan. 22. Our hope is that these events will inspire and encourage all of us to commit to serving our community.

During the breakfast we will hear an inspiring journey of one of our own in this area, Jerrod Hogan, who with several others helped in the rebuilding of Joplin after we were hit by the devastating tornado. His story and journey emulates the vision of Dr. King. The Volunteer Fair, to be held in Billingsly Student Center, will bring together over 15 area non-profit volunteer organizations showcasing how they serve the community and provide the community, faculty, staff and students an opportunity to find a place to serve.

We will wrap up the week with two of Dr. King’s inspirational speeches at 1 and 7 p.m. on Jan. 22. They will be presented by Greenfair Moses III, who is the foremost authority and purveyor of the speeches and sermons of Dr. King in the world.

Martin Luther King III remarked that Brother Moses’ voice was the closest to his father’s that he’d ever heard. Brother Moses was the first to portray Dr. King on Capitol Hill in the initial movement to make King’s birthday a national holiday. He was also the first to portray Dr. King before both houses of the Virginia Assembly in its first official recognition of his birthday. He has won numerous awards for his reenactments of King’s speeches and community service. The famous art critic Richard Coe called his performance “dazzling.” Brother Moses is the performer you want to see.

It will be a moving and enlightening experience. The evening presentation will feature the MSSU Chamber Singers to set the mood for the presentation.

You don’t want to miss any of these events!

Faustina Abrahams is the MSSU first year advising coordinator and a member of the university’s Diversity Committee, which sponsors the event.