Nearly 1,000 people packed the Oregon Convention Center’s Bud Clark Hall for The Skanner News 29th Annual Martin Luther King Breakfast event on Monday, Jan. 19.
The International Business Times put The Skanner News King Breakfast on its short list of “Best events to celebrate birthday and life of Martin Luther King Jr around the US.”
Keynote speaker, the Rev. Benjamin Chavis, CEO and President of the national Newspaper Publishers Association, used the event to announce an NNPA trade initiative with Cuba with The Skanner News’ Bernie Foster at its head.
Also at the breakfast event, The Skanner News introduced its new online business directory, online at www.theskannerdirectory.com.
The newspaper’s civil rights award, the Drum Major for Justice, was given to the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Peace and Justice Reform, represented at the event by Dr. Leroy Haines.
Haines collected the award from the podium, where seated guests included Chavis; Portland Mayor Charlie Hales; Portland Police Chief Larry O’Dea; Pacific NW Regional Council of Carpenters Bob Susee; University of Oregon, Robin Holmes PhD; Roland Iparraguire of the Oregon Lottery; Portland Development Commission Executive Director Patrick Quinton; Portland Community College, Cascade Campus President Karin Edwards; US Sen. Ron Wyden; Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown; The Skanner News Executive Editor Bobbie Dore Foster; and Pastor Deborah Brown of St. Phillip the Deacon Episcopal Church.
"We're not here to celebrate," Foster says. “We're here to make sure that Dr. King's work is carried on.”
Also honored was the Oregon Historical Society for its project digitizing all The Skanner News print and digital photo archives. Kerry Tymchuck, director of the Society, accepted the award.
Chavis’ speech touched on King’s legacy in the areas of voting rights, education, incarceration, entrepreneurship and spirituality.
"I was asked, why are you going to Portland? Because to me this is a trendsetting city,” Chavis said. “Portland represents progress."
Chavis specifically cited immigration reform as part of the Black agenda nationwide, as well as prison reform. But one area was especially key in his analysis.
"Education is the single most important thing that can lead to success in a person’s life," Chavis said.
Many college scholarships were awarded by sponsors at The Skanner News Martin Luther King Breakfast, including:
Kaitlan Purkapile, Pacific NW Regional Council of Carpenters, attends Portland State University;
Selam Wako, Portland Development Commission, attends the University of Oregon;
Shaniece Curry, University of Oregon, attends University of Oregon;
Dayja Curry, Oregon Lottery, attends the University of Oregon;
Hanna Atenafu, Oregon Health and Science University, attends Oregon State;
Christine Trinh, Providence Health Systems, attends Georgetown University;
Gabriel Gutierrez-Aragon, City of Portland, attends De La Salle North Catholic;
Victoria Trinh, Family Care, attends De La Salle North Catholic;
Ashleigh Miller-Hayes, Home Forward, attends Seattle Pacific University;
Veronica Medhanie, Pacific Power & Light, attends Portland State University;
Cameron Retherford, Turner Construction, attends Texas Tech;
Henry Sissac, Wells Fargo Bank, attends University of Iowa;
Michelle Carr, Wells Fargo Bank, attends Kent State;
Luis Sosa, The Skanner Foundation, attends De La Salle North Catholic;
Marneet Lewis, The Skanner Foundation, attends Warner Pacific.