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2015 MLK Unity Breakfast Theme and Keynote Speaker Revealed

In the midst of nationwide discussions about race in America, the MLK Unity Breakfast Committee, led by the CAC (Community Affairs Committee) announced its theme and keynote speaker for the 29th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Breakfast held on Monday, January 19, 2015 at 7:30 am at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center in recognition of the National Holiday bearing the name of the slain civil rights leader.

“We chose the theme ‘A Time To Break Silence’ based on Dr. King’s speech given exactly one year prior to his assassination,” said Unity Breakfast Chairman, Scott Douglas, who also serves as Executive Director for Greater Birmingham Ministries. “It seems that the new generation is beginning to find its voice in speaking about issues related to race. Our event theme should remind us of the historic courage of Dr. King while challenging us to speak out about injustices we encounter in current times.”

Birmingham’s Annual Unity Breakfast hosts between 1,500 and 2,000 attendees each year, including a mix of leaders from the public and private sectors. Each year, the Unity Breakfast Committee, comprised of five civil rights and social justice organizations, provides scholarship funds for area high school students who submit essays based on the featured theme.  

The featured speaker of the breakfast will be Birmingham native and former Saturday Night Live writer and comedic biographer, Tanner Colby.

“Tanner Colby has proven his ability to talk, comfortably, about integration in America, a topic too many people find uncomfortable,” said U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance. “Birmingham is fortunate to be able to bring this accomplished author home to address the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Breakfast and help us break the silence and openly discuss issues that remain. Birmingham remains the preeminent example of peaceful resolution to challenging issues affecting diverse communities. The ‘Birmingham example’ is as relevant today as it was forty years ago.”

Colby, a New York Times bestselling author, was nominated for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Non-Fiction for his book, Some of my Best Friends are Black: The Strange Story of Integration of America. Colby has also written and co-written biographies about Michael Jackson, Chris Farley and Jim Belushi.

The book, Some of my Best Friends are Black, will be the centerpiece of a city-wide community dialogue project held in partnership with Ensley-based The Bethesda Life Center with support from the office of Joyce Vance, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. Details of the book project will be announced at the breakfast.

“Tanner Colby is a thought-provoking writer and speaker,” says The Bethesda Life Center CEO, Bettina Byrd-Giles. “We look forward to partnering with U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, the CAC, and civic leaders to lead a city-wide discussion about race relations in the Birmingham area.”

In addition to the featured speaker and the city-wide book discussion, attendees will see three high school students receive cash scholarships for their essays submitted on the theme: ‘A Time To Break Silence.’

Register for the 2015 MLK Unity Breakfast today! Corporate tables are $500; Individual seats are $30. For interest in being a sponsor, purchasing a table, contact Ed Fields at unity@relaxitshandled.com.

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