Local pastor speaks at MLK Jr. breakfast


Photo courtesy of Craig Coates

The Rev. Craig Coates was the keynote speaker at the 42nd annual MLK Jr. breakfast, sponsored in part by AACC.

Tomi Brunton, Associate Editor

The keynote speaker for the 42nd annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast on Jan. 16 said younger generations “haven’t been taught to find their voice.”
The event’s theme was King’s quote, “We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” The speaker, Craig Coates, the senior pastor of the Fresh Start Church in Glen Burnie, said his speech followed that theme.
“The silence of a generation that has a voice and are not using it for social justice and for restorative justice, things of that sort, [means that] we’re still walking in the same shoes that we walked in—shoes of ignorance,” Coates, who goes by the title “apostle,” said.
AACC co-sponsors the breakfast annually. The event took place this year at La Fontaine Bleue in Glen Burnie.
In an interview with Campus Current, Coates said older generations have set a “bad example” with silence about social justice.
“Have we done our part to pass down to the next generation the same instructions, the same importance of character and love that should have been passed down so that they can keep the dream alive?” Coates asked. “I don’t believe it’s been done.”
In King’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, he called for racial equality.
Coates said the breakfast was a way to guide “younger voices to discover their voice.”
“The MLK breakfast to me is a sign that it’s still possible to realize Dr. King’s dream, because there’s still a platform,” said Coates, who has founded multiple businesses, including clothing company Modern Priestwear. “And wherever there’s still a platform, there’s an opportunity for voices to be heard.”
“5781: The Post-Pandemic Mandate,” a book Coates published in 2020, helped inspire the speech.