Breakfast honoring Martin Luther King in Amherst Saturday

  • Onawumi Jean Moss will give the keynote address. Gazette File Photo

For The Recorder
Thursday, January 11, 2018

AMHERST — When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebrated his final birthday 50 years ago, he already had significant accomplishments in the civil rights arena under his belt, allowing him to focus on lifting up all citizens by fighting poverty and rebuilding American cities.

The issue of how to improve the lives of the working class and low-income earners was at the center of the Poor Peoples’ Campaign, King’s final foray into activism before his assassination April 4, 1968.

King’s final cause will be reflected in a talk by storyteller Onawumi Jean Moss during the keynote address at the 34th annual MLK Breakfast, which begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the Amherst Regional Middle School, 170 Chestnut St.

Richmond Ampiah-Bonney, president of the MLK Breakfast Committee, said Moss is encouraging those in attendance to wear blue jeans and other “working clothes” to symbolize King’s advocacy for the working class.

The Amherst Area Gospel Choir, under the direction of Jacqueline Wallace, will perform during the talk.

“Her story will be backed by music, which will be supporting the storyline,” Ampiah-Bonney said.

The doors to the school cafeteria open at 8:30 a.m. for coffee and socializing, then the breakfast is served at 9 a.m.

The Amherst Regional High School jazz band, under the direction of Kara Nye, will play during the breakfast, and the Fort River Elementary School chorus, under the direction of Heather Krasner, will sing freedom songs as people finish their meal and proceed, at 10 a.m., to the auditorium.

Retired state Rep. Ellen Story and state Sen. Stanley Rosenberg are scheduled to be emcees, with an invocation by the Rev. Steven Wilco of the Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Three scholarships will be presented to Amherst High School students, Sahar Douglas, Kayara Hardnett-Barnes and Aviva Weinbaum, while a teacher will receive the Norma Jean Anderson Excellence in Teaching award.

Tickets, which support the scholarships, are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for children 12 and under.

Tickets can be purchased at the door and in advance at A.J. Hastings, 45 South Pleasant St., and Global Cuts, 460 West St.