AACC hosts annual MLK breakfast to honor community leaders


Photo Courtesy of IHEP

Dr. Michelle Asha Cooper spokes about the importance of looking at issues through a racial lens.

Chance Iheoma, Photo Editor

The 38th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast this week honored several community leaders for their humanitarian work in Anne Arundel County.

The Memorial Breakfast, co-hosted by AACC and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast Committee, took place at La Fontaine Bleue, a gourmet restaurant in Glen Bernie. The event is annually held on campus, but the school’s construction projects made it an inopportune setting for the sold-out event.

The event took place on January 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and celebrated the life and achievements of the civil rights leader. The committee took the time to recognize individuals in Anne Arundel County whose work kept in the realizing the vision of Dr. King.

Chair of the Memorial Committee Eugene Peterson upheld this year’s breakfast theme, Realizing the Dream: The Time is Now, by honoring Janice Hayes-Williams, commissioner to the Maryland Heritage Area Authorities, Taylor Pyles, detective with the Annapolis Police Department and Tryphenia Ellis-Johnson, a member of the NAACP and chair of the Juvenile Justice Committee, among others.

After a video presentation of the honorees at the event, Dr. Michelle Asha Cooper, president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, gave a keynote speech highlighting areas of racial equity that she saw the community could improve on as a whole. Her speech employed a bus analogy that alluded to the days of civil rights activism of the 1960s in the United States.

The event, which included music presentations from the Old Mill High School Vocal Ensemble, gave students on campus a chance to reflect on Martin Luther King’s legacy.

“Me being biracial is the reason why I love MLK day,” Vincent Moreland, a communications student who graduated from AACC this fall said. “Without MLK, my parents would not have met each other.”

“As a biracial citizen, I’m blessed for what MLK has done and all of the other important African American figures that helped end segregation.”

“MLK would be proud of our society today,” Moreland added. “He would love seeing black and white people on the same sports team, or working together on a project, or just being around each other period.”

Other students shared this sentiment.

“MLK was a beacon in the darkness for social equality and change,” first-year visual effects student Nikko Maresca said.

“If MLK were alive today, I think he would be both incredibly impressed and horrified at the state of our society today.”