Posted on January 21, 2013 at 6:43 PM
Monday, Jan 21 at 7:01 PM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte kicked off its Monday celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s holiday with an uptown prayer breakfast that drew more than 1,100 people – a new record for the annual event, sponsored by the Greater Charlotte YMCA and the City of Charlotte.
The keynote speaker in the Crown Ballroom at the Charlotte Convention Center was Chef Jeff Henderson, a nationally renowned chef, author and TV star. He told the crowd that Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth and other black slaves-turned-leaders had “worked the fields and planted the seeds” that bore fruit with the emergence of King and President Barack Obama, who publicly began his second term Monday with an inaugural address in Washington.
Henderson, a one-time drug dealer who turned his life around by learning how to cook in prison kitchens, urged his audience to join him in carving out their own legacies and planting seeds by helping others who need mentors and second chances.
“My calling was to go back and help transform young people who have no dreams,” Henderson said. “Inside every fruit, there is a seed.”
Several prominent Charlotteans who have furthered King’s legacy and message were given awards at Monday’s 19th annual breakfast, including McCrorey YMCA volunteers Alba and Ellen Cornish; WBTV reporter and documentary filmmaker Steve Crump; community leader Sally Robinson; Dave and Chini Nichols of the Center for Sustainable Change; Acosta Sales and Marketing; and McCrorey YMCA teen leader Teal Green.
Crump attended the breakfast, but had to leave before accepting his MLK Medallion to catch a plane to Washington to cover Obama’s inauguration.
All proceeds from the breakfast will go to McCrorey YMCA, which began in 1936 as a Y for African Americans at a time when segregation was the law in North Carolina.