To Celebrate and Serve
More than 300 people gathered in Flynn Dining Commons to celebrate BSU’s 28th annual observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. Those in attendance included students and teachers from public schools in Brockton and New Bedford, as well as invited guests and honorees.
“We come from different towns, schools and families but we gather here today to share a meal, honor Dr. Marin Luther King, Jr., and serve our communities,” said Dr. Anna Bradfield, executive director of university initiatives, as she welcomed the gathering.
Dr. Dana Mohler-Faria, presiding over his 12th MLK breakfast at Bridgewater, said, “It is wonderful to see so many people gathered here this morning – particularly so many young people who are no strangers here and have been engaged with us in valuable educational projects. We’re delighted to have you here.”
Traditionally, the breakfast was held to celebrate Dr. King’s life. In recent years, the event has transitioned into two parts: the breakfast, followed by a day of service, where members of the BSU community and others volunteer on campus and throughout the region.
The president told the audience that he was in Belize last week and visited what he described as a “very poor school.” Afterward, he heard on the radio a story about a professional baseball player and his $30 million contract. “I thought, if this school, with these young children, had only half a million dollars, it would transform their lives.”
“It caused me,” he continued, “and it should cause all of us, to think about our values. How do we take those young people in Belize – or in New Bedford, or Brockton, or Bridgewater or Boston – and create for them the kinds of opportunities that allow them to lift themselves out of the despair of poverty and ultimately impact other people’s lives? That’s what Dr. King was about, and that is what this program is about.”
The president introduced Mr. Ron Burton, Jr., the 2014 recipient of the university’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Distinguished Service Award. He is the director of the Ron Burton Training Village and director of community athletic programs for the Boston Red Sox. He also serves as director of the Ron Burton Training Village, which each year works with 130 low-income boys and is devoted to the spiritual, educational, social and physical development of these young men.
“His work touches the lives of over 6,000 young people in the commonwealth and he is a fine example of the spirit of Dr. King’s work,” President Mohler-Faria said.
As part of the program young people from area elementary, middle school and high schools were honored for their essays written to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream Speech,” and President Mohler-Faria presented trophies to the award recipients. (Story by David K. Wilson, ’71; student volunteer photo by Kerri Spero, University News)