Polk State College hosted its Ninth Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Breakfast on Tuesday, where 200 attendees honored the slain civil rights leader and reflected on how they can personally continue the legacy he left behind.
Community leaders and Polk State employees and students attended the event at Polk State Winter Haven’s Fred T. Lenfestey Student Center. The morning included musical performances by local groups The Richardson Five, Divine Voices and the Sankofa Singers, and a keynote address by Katrina Lunsford, a vice president with Fifth Third Bank.
Lunsford said the King’s passion for helping the poor — just before his assassination, he was embarking on a campaign against poverty — is particularly relevant in these troubled economic times.
“We all need to fight more than ever for where Dr. King left off,” she said. “Economic justice was not fulfilled before his death.”
Lunsford said African-Americans must work as a united front to see King’s dreams realized.
“It is important to do things massively. Too often we try to do things individually, instead of trying to develop the massive worth our people have,” she said.
However, Lunsford also encouraged attendees to know “who they are and where they came from,” she said.
By working together and remaining committed to King’s vision for America, Lunsford said better economic days are to come.
“We’ll own our own companies and create economic growth,” she said.
Lunsford also encouraged the crowd to never stop working to keep King’s legacy alive.
“Sometimes you just want to stay in bed and quit,” she said. “That’s when the tide is just about to turn. Don’t quit.”
Polk State President Eileen Holden in her remarks to the audience echoed the idea of remaining true to the legacy of King.
“I hope you reflect on how we can all individually honor the dream of Martin Luther King Jr., through our volunteership, leadership and civic engagement,” Holden said.
The breakfast event was sponsored by Tinsley Family Concessions and State Farm.
The College continues its celebration of King on Wednesday with its Fifth Annual MLK Celebration luncheon in Lakeland.