PAWTUCKET — COVID forced the cancellations of many traditions over the past year, but the Ministers Alliance of Rhode Island’s Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Breakfast isn’t one of them. This year’s 37th annual event is going virtual.
Monday’s scholarship breakfast honoring students will take place at 11 a.m. via Facebook live on the Ministers Alliance of Rhode Island’s Facebook page.
“We recognize as a result of the pandemic, doing it virtual was easier for people,” Warwick resident and Ministers Alliance of Rhode Island President Rev. Howard M. Jenkins, Jr. told Warwick Post. “At the same time what would normally be a breakfast we are just unable to do because of social distancing. We usually have a large number of supporters but as a result, we just felt this was the right thing to do.”
There’s no registration necessary for this year’s event and the format will be similar to past years according to Rev. Jenkins. One noticeable difference this year is the organization will be recognizing Senator Harold Metts for his decades of service to the community.
This year’s guest speaker is Judge Elizabeth Ortiz. “We are extremely proud of her being selected in the judgeship as part of our BIPOC (black indigenous and people of color) community,” said Rev. Jenkins.
Scholarship winners remain a surprise until the breakfast each year and this year is no different. Jenkins said they didn’t get the response they usually do and no more than two scholarship winners are expected to be announced Monday.
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo was originally slated to be Monday’s speaker, but with her recent selection to President-Elect Joe Biden’s administration, she was unable to attend.
“We are extremely proud of her representing Rhode Island during a critical time in the country’s history and we understand she is unable to make it,” Rev. Jenkins said. “It was an honor she accepted a while back to be a keynote speaker.”
Rev. Jenkins said they will also be making a statement regarding what’s been happening within the country over the past week at Monday’s event.
In recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. and in celebration of his words “I have a dream,” Jenkins said, “We recognize those words in these difficult times are being reverberated throughout this country but we are very confident we will continue to do the things to bring his dream to reality.”
The live event kicks off at 11 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 18 on the Ministers Alliance of Rhode Island’s Facebook page. Supporters will also have the opportunity to make an electronic donation during Monday’s live, virtual event.