Speaker of annual MLK Jr. breakfast calls for racial healing

Mary Kane, Graphic Designer

Unity, respect and racial healing were common themes in the keynote speech at AACC’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast.

On Jan. 15, keynote speaker Dr. Gail C. Christopher said America is heading toward the same kind of “energy” that brought about Nazism in Germany, but that a spirit of love and understanding can bring us together

“The message I am bringing to you is not one of fear but of urgency,” said Christopher. “These are times for us to be connected to one another. … In honor of this great man Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I know that ours should be a heart that is filled with kindness, respect and regard for all.”

Christopher said our country should eliminate the idea of racial hierarchy, which is the focus of her community outreach program, “The Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation.”

“The Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation process is about that work of learning to love one another,” Christopher said.

Christopher said her organization is attempting to “change the narrative” by telling “new stories of who we are.”

“The next part is what we call racial healing,” said Christopher, “[Racial healing] is when communities come together and they learn to listen to one another. As long as we can keep people apart, we can hold onto our biases and beliefs.”

According to Christopher, separation in society helps maintain a racial hierarchy.

Christopher said most people do not agree with President Donald Trump’s racially charged statements.

“I know better than that and I know you know better than that,” she said. “First of all, most people did not elect this president. People are not happy with the way things are going in America.”

Christopher said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would not speak to Trump, but to the country. “He would say it is time for us to be united not divided,” she said.

“[We] cannot allow America to be destroyed by hate,” Christopher said, “We cannot let the idea of America dissipate at foolish, childish, name calling.”