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Continuing King’s message

Keynote speaker Beatrice Forniss greeted guests at the annual Martin Luther King breakfast at the Dunbar Center. Advocate Staff/Patty Vaughan

Hundreds gathered at the Dunbar Center on Monday to celebrate what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King’s 83rd birthday.

Guest speaker Beatrice Forniss discussed the importance of getting involved and carrying out Dr. King’s message.

Currently serving as director of the Governor’s Resources and Economic Assistance Programs at the Department of Economic and Community Affairs for the State of Alabama, Forniss is a native of Mobile, Ala. said she is a living commitment to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I am honored this morning to be in your presence,” Forniss said. “I hope you will want to take off running and make a difference. Are you reaching for the mountaintop? What are you doing to strengthen your community? Are you always calling the mayor and county commissioner complaining or are you concerned about what’s really going on? What are you doing to help others? Dr. King said everybody can be great because anybody can serve.”

Forniss addressed the children in the audience first discussing King’s achievements such as being the youngest man in 1964 to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and giving all of his prize winnings away. She addressed how she went to Dr. King’s memorial in Washington D.C.

“It is a sight to behold and as you stand there and as you look out where Dr. King is actually standing, you are totally mesmerized,” Forniss said. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could take all of the students in this room with us to see the memorial? I’m going to tell you something today. I am going to find some money for them to go.”

Working towards helping the community is Forniss’ goal and she hopes to put away money for poor communities in the state.

“Fortunately, hundreds of thousands of Americans dedicate their lives day in and day out but there are still barriers remaining,” Forniss said. “We haven’t made it to the mountaintop. If you think you’ve made it to the mountaintop, you haven’t even circled the block.”

People are continuing to kill one other, fighting with one another, gossiping with one another and Forniss said people are doing everything but what should be done.

“(King) preached love. He preached brotherhood. He preached kindness,” Forniss said. “He preached to us and asked us to take another road and to do something different. We do not think about freedom without thinking about Dr. King. We do not think about equality or civil rights without considering what he would have said to us if he were with us today. I cannot think of a better tribute to Dr. King’s legacy than to continue this work to make sure that every American can live a healthy, fulfilling life.”