In the midst of nationwide discussions about race in America, the 29th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Breakfast will be 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. “A new generation is finding 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.” Other members of the Unity Breakfast Committee include Birmingham Metro Diversity Coalition , Community Affairs Committee of REV Birmingham , Metro Birmingham NAACP, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Birmingham’s Annual Unity Breakfast hosts between 1,500 and 2,000 attendees each year, including a mix of leaders from the public, private and nonprofit 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 winning essays based on the featured theme. The featured speaker of the breakfast will be Birmingham native and former Saturday Night Live writer, comedic biographer and author of Some Of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America., 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 fifty years ago.”