King prayer breakfast urges those to take action

Bishop Darin Moore gave the keynote address at Monday’s 37th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast, held by the Zeta Rho Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, at the Modern Maturity Center in Dover,

DOVER — When the community came together Monday morning to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., they were reminded of the importance of action.

The 37th annual prayer breakfast, held by the Zeta Rho Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity at the Modern Maturity Center in Dover, honored Dr. King and presented two graduating high school seniors with scholarships.

Anthony Reeves, who led the ceremony, noted he was especially taken that one of the scholarship recipients, Maci Carter of Lake Forest High School, had 600 community service hours.

“So I asked her the question, I said, ‘What do you say to your peers, while you’re out there putting in work and doing community work and they’re sitting at home, eating a bowl of cereal, watching television?’” Mr. Reeves said. “Her response was very telling. First thing she said was, ‘I look at them and say, what purpose do you serve?’’

“It may be easy to get caught up in the nice presentation and programs and so forth, but it’s my point to remind you that the theme is, ‘Remember, celebrate, act,’” he continued. “A day on is not a day off.”

Bishop Darin Moore, who gave the keynote address, said he was there to give the community a jolt to get out of their comfort zones.

“I am so sick and tired of syrupy speeches where people talk about love, but then go out and go into their respective corners and don’t really do the hard work of trying to build bridges with one another,” Bishop Moore said.

“I promised God — and a few of my mama’s friends — I would never, ever take my time in public to just make people feel good without challenging people to become better, because Martin Luther King was so powerful because he spoke truth to power.”

Bishop Moore reminded attendees to remember Dr. King in all his complexity, rather than settling for the “domesticated, superficial, watered down, sanitized view.”

He told the community to celebrate the Dr. King who delivered the “I Have a Dream Speech,” in 1963 during the March on Washington, but also celebrate that “Martin Luther King was a radical. Martin Luther King was not politically acceptable,” he said.

“We come to a time that says we must be advocates for justice, that none of us can afford our silence or complacency,” he said.

He continued that there is an obligation to go beyond saying, “I’m not racist,” or “I love all people.”

“All of us have an obligation … to confront structures and strategies and mentalities that continue to pervade in this country where we say, ‘All lives matter,’ but we get nervous when we say, ‘Black lives matter,’” he said.

“If a house is burning and the fire trucks come to put out the fire at that house, it doesn’t say all houses don’t matter. It says we need to intervene because that house is on fire.”

Bishop Moore remained hopeful, he said. He took attendees to 1996, in a boxing match between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. Mr. Holyfield, who was the projected underdog, won the fight.

After he’d won, Mr. Holyfield said that he knew he’d win in the fifth round — after Mr. Tyson had punched him “devastatingly,” Bishop Moore said.

“And Holyfield said, ‘That’s how I knew I was going to win this fight. Because after he hit me with that left uppercut, I went up against the ropes, I shook myself, and I said, “I’m still here,”’” Bishop Moore said. “The enemy has hit us with his best shot, and we’re still here.”

Looking toward the future, Alpha Phi Alpha awarded two $1,500 scholarships to local students.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Achievement Award and Brother Hardin T. Watkins Achievement Award scholarships were awarded to Monroe C. Hite IV of Caesar Rodney High School and Maci Carter of Lake Forest High School, respectively.

“I’m sincerely honored to be selected as the recipient of this award,” Monroe said as he accepted the scholarship, thanking Alpha Phi Alpha, his family and his school. “I appreciate that every single moment has been a pleasure and I’m just so thankful for every single one of you guys, whether that be in the classroom, the community and on the field.”

Monroe, an honor student and two-sport athlete, plans to pursue a degree in either physical therapy or business/marketing. Monroe volunteers with Special Olympics at Camp Barnes, mentors youth and participates in Mini-Kickers, a program teaching soccer fundamentals to children.

Maci, class vice president and president of the Lake Forest FFA chapter, will attend the University of Delaware to study agriculture and natural resources, and plans to become an agricultural educator. Among her work competing at the Delaware State Fair and National FFA Convention each year, Maci mentors elementary school students in the district through the Mentor Program.