This year's keynote speaker at The Skanner Foundation's 21st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast said he plans to speak about some controversial issues affecting American society.
"Dr. King worked on three broad areas: legal equality, voting rights and economic parity," said Luke Visconti, co-founder and publisher of DiversityInc magazine. "Only two of the three have been accomplished. Why?"
The celebration will begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 15, in the Red Lion Hotel, 909 N. Hayden Island Drive. It also will feature a few words from Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore. Tickets for the annual event are available online by e-mailing [email protected], at The Skanner office, 415 N. Killingsworth St. or by calling 503-285-5555, ext. 511.
Visconti said he is looking forward to speaking at the event because a Black publisher asked a White publisher to speak in honor of Dr. King.
"I could not ask for a higher honor," he said.
Visconti is responsible for the editorial direction and philosophy behind the national magazine and its Web site. DiversityInc, founded in 1998 as a Web site, is devoted to promoting the idea that diversity in the workplace can positively impact business.
Visconti said he also plans to address some of the following questions about race in America and across the globe: What forces are actively working against the interests of all Americans? Why is diversity not a natural state for humans and how does this affect our country in an era of global communications?
"Attendees should look forward to this because I hope to bring clarity on very controversial issues — which they may not have understood before," he said.
A recognized leader in his field and an energetic speaker, Visconti has appeared regularly on Fox, MSNBC and CNBC television networks. He also has been quoted in articles about diversity in such publications as The New York Times, BusinessWeek and The Wall Street Journal.
At DiversityInc, more than half of the employees are women, and 65 percent are people of color. The levels of diversity are equally represented across all levels of salary and responsibility, and the company also offers partner benefits.
The annual Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast is the largest event in the Pacific Northwest to honor the memory and vision of Dr. King. Last year's event attracted over 1,000 people, including Gov. Ted Kulongoski, representatives from state government and many corporate sponsors, including State Farm, Kaiser Permanente and McDonald's Corporation.
During the breakfast, The Skanner Foundation awards thousands of dollars in scholarships to worthy students and presents two community awards, the Drum Major of Justice Award and The John Jackson Award.