Minnesota leaders reflect on Dr. King's message in virtual MLK Day event

Minnesota leaders spoke at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Holiday Breakfast, which happened virtually this year due to the pandemic. (General Mills and the United Negro College Fund)

Across the nation Monday, people united for a day of service and reflection to honor the life of a civil rights icon. In the Twin Cities metro, there were several Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday virtual events driven by a call for action.

For the first time in 31 years, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast was virtual. The annual scholarship fundraiser is sponsored and supported by the United Negro College Fund and General Mills. Like most MLK events, this year’s celebration took on a different tone.

"As we heard countless times before, these are unprecedented times," said H. Adam Harris of the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis.

"I can think of few times in our nation’s history when the lessons of Dr. King and the theme of this year’s breakfast, a call for bold social action, have been so important," said Senator Amy Klobuchar.

A call to action that comes after a year that saw a global pandemic, civil unrest and a reckoning with racial equality.

"Both the pandemic and George Floyd’s death have exposed what we already knew to be true. That there’s an urgent need for meaningful change in our state and country," said Governor Tim Walz.

Among the event’s featured speakers included Dr. Bernice King, the civil rights icon's youngest child.

"It’s going to take some bold actions and courage to come out of comfort zones and our silos to really cross some lines and barriers," she said.

At the annual State of Minnesota MLK event, Dr. King’s message inspired a new generation in yet another call for bold action.

"And we must keep working so that we have more firsts and seconds and tenths until inclusion and equity are the norm because this is the future that Dr. King knew could exist," said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan.

Ambassador Andrew J. Young, a champion of civil and human rights was also a featured speaker at the MLK breakfast event.