CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - One of the biggest Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations returned for its 25th year Monday morning at the Charlotte Convention Center.
About 1,800 people packed the crown ballroom for The McCrorey YMCA MLK Holiday Breakfast to remember a man whose message and that of the YMCA go hand in hand.
The breakfast started small. At first it was held in the McCrorey YMCA gym with about 100 participants.
This year, award winning journalist Soledad O’Brien gave the keynote speech, sharing her family’s own experiences with racism and calling on our community in Charlotte to step up.
“I think McCrorey specifically asked me to challenge people, to literally not say everyone here is amazing and thank you for a great year, but to say here are the needs and here’s the mission and the real legacy of Dr. King is to do the hard part,” O’Brien said.
All of the proceeds benefit the McCrorey YMCA so that they can support our community with programs for youth and seniors alike.
“Here’s a place where you can go in order to spend the time because the alternative is often to be out on the streets somewhere,” O’Brien said.
The McCrorey YMCA was founded in 1936 as the first African American YMCA in Charlotte. It’s constantly evolving to meet the needs in Charlotte.
“Some of the issues we have are still reflections of what happened in the past, and so Dr. King’s message was important then and very much alive and important today,” Dena Paulding, YMCA District Executive Director, said.
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