Annual MLK Breakfast set for Jan. 15

Published 5:25 pm Friday, January 5, 2018

For many, 2017 was a reminder that the fight for civil rights is never truly over.

The Butler County Civic League continues to honor one of the biggest proponents of civil rights, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with its annual Martin Luther King Freedom Breakfast.

The occasion, held as always at Dunbar Recreation Center, is slated for Jan. 15 at 8 a.m. A $5 admission includes a hearty breakfast and a heartfelt message from county and state dignitaries, as well as the event’s guest speaker.

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Thelma Mixon, member of the Butler County Civic League and chairperson of this year’s breakfast planning committee, said that the occasion is emblematic of everything Dr. King stood for; for her, chief among those ideals is the importance of voting.

“Dr. King was a great leader and minister,” Mixon said. “And most of all, he was about voting rights. And that is what the Butler County Civic League is also about.

“In the Butler County area, we’ve tried to keep his message alive because we don’t want to lose what Dr. King lost his life for, which is trying to encourage each and every person to get out and vote. That’s what it’s all about.”

This year’s event occurs in the midst of a rare alignment of circumstances, as the breakfast will fall on Dr. King’s actual birthday for the first time in quite a while.

More importantly, the 2018 occasion also marks the impending 50-year anniversary of King’s assassination on April 4, 1968.

If one of the Butler County Civic League’s chief goals is to highlight the importance of the voting process, the organization was gifted a significant example just last month in Doug Jones’ bid for the U.S. Senate.

African American voters proved essential in the democrat’s ascension to the U.S. Senate in December’s special election. 

Ninety-three percent of voting black men opted for Jones, while a resounding 98 percent of black women did the same.  The two demographics combined to help give Jones a 20,000-vote advantage in a historically-tight race.

Mixon said that having Jones’ election as proof of the voting process is invaluable.

“Our theme is ‘Our Unity is Our Strength,’” Mixon said.  “So we’ve got to know that it can happen when we make it happen.  There is strength in unity.”

A number of representatives within Butler County and beyond will offer brief greetings that morning prior to the serving of breakfast, including Butler County Commission chairman Allin Whittle, Butler County Schools superintendent John Strycker, Alabama Sen. Hank Sanders and Alabama House Rep. Chris Sells.

Georgiana Police Department chief Carlton Cook will serve as guest speaker for this year’s event.

Mixon said that it was his local ties and, more importantly, the immediate impact he has made on his community that made him an easy choice when deciding upon this year’s speaker.

“He was born and raised here,” she said. “He moved away and served in the military, and he also worked in Montgomery County.  And when he moved back, he became a leader, and he’s trying to help make a difference in his community. 

“He does a lot of outreach with the youth, and we ‘re thinking that message will make a great impact on everyone.”

Tickets for the annual Martin Luther King Freedom Breakfast are available from all local churches in Butler County. 

For more information, contact Mixon at 334-464-3956 or George Cook at 334-382-1700.