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King’s Memory, Mission Celebrated At Annual Township Breakfast

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Randal Pinkett, an entrepreneur, author and speaker, was the keynote speaker at the 18th annual Franklin Township Community Breakfast Jan. 19 at the DoubleTree Hotel.


Americans can not let the civil rights advances of the last 50 years be whittled away by prejudice and hatred, a crowd of more than 300 people was told Jan. 19 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Somerset.

The speaker was Randal Pinkett, and the event was the 18th annual Franklin Township Community Breakfast, held to honor the memory and mission of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Pinkett, a township resident, entrepreneur, author and speaker, was the event’s keynote speaker.

Framing his speech in the context of the current racial climate in the United States – particularly in terms of unarmed black men being killed by police, and police being attacked and killed – Pinkett told the crowd that “when 2015 starts to sound like 1965, that is a wake-up call of the loudest proportions.”

“Race continues to be a force to be reckoned with in 21st Century America,” he said. “The single greatest threat to our Democracy is the divide in society.”

The regression of civil rights advances “cannot be on our watch,” he said. “Something has got to change in 2015.”

That change, Pinkett said, “takes people willing to do what is unexpected.”

“Each of us must do a better job of standing for all of us,” he said.

One way to avoid a regression of civil rights is for people to get to know each other on more than a superficial level, Pinkett said.

“In the absence of real dialogue … our prejudices will persist,” Pinkett said.

“You have to establish real relationships with real people who are not like you,” he said. “It’s easy to come together, it’s real hard to stay together.”

Achieving this goal, Pinkett said, will not require a great many people.

“We don’t need everybody on board,” he said. “We only need a committed few.”

Earlier in the morning, Eva Nagy, the event’s coordinator, told the crowd that events such as the breakfast “show the strengths of our community.”

“There are so many people who don’t want unity,” she said. “We in Franklin come together, those of us who care about others, we share our talents, we give our time and we give our money.”

“We need each other,” Nagy said. “We need every one of you to make our Franklin community stronger and better.”

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Elizabeth Williams, a member of New Jersey Orators, speaks at the community breakfast.

Also speaking during the event was 11-year-old Elizabeth Williams, a member of New Jersey Orators, who spoke on the theme, “My Life Has Value.”

The event apse serves as a fundraiser for the Martin Luther King Scholarship Fund, which has awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships to Franklin High School seniors over the past 17 years.

 

 

 

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Breakfast 2015

 

 

 

 

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