Community breakfast celebrates legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Berkeley residents and elected officials came together to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with song and spirit in a breakfast celebration at Hotel Shattuck Plaza Monday morning.

The breakfast  — which was planned by an organizational team that included members of Berkeley’s religious community and leaders from UC Berkeley and the Berkeley Police Department — opened with song and prayer from Pastor Leslie White of Saint Paul A.M.E. Church, who helped organize the event.

“As a pastor, (King’s) theme was always … the beloved community,” White said. “When I first got here,  I saw a lot of different events being put on in his honor, but not one big event for (everyone).”

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates also spoke at the breakfast, emphasizing the importance of remembering King’s strategy of non-violence in light of the Occupy Berkeley movement.

“People of my own generation came to work on peace marches during that time of (civil rights),” said Councilmember Linda Maio. “When we hold events like this, we must never forget why this happened … we still have a lot of injustice right now.”

The breakfast concluded with famous excerpts from King’s speeches and further song and prayer.

“The celebration today is about … realizing that Martin Luther King Jr. was a point person,” White said. “There are countless others over the years who made it possible to continue doing what the Lord led (King) to do and bring us all together.”

Anjuli Sastry covers city government.