LEESBURG, Fla. — A community breakfast to honor Martin Luther King Jr. took place early Friday morning in Leesburg with a smorgasbord of food and a diverse program of speakers, performers and audience of more than 150.
There’s no better way to bring in the new year than a celebration of Martin Luther King, said Thomas Sullivan, Lake County commissioner and one of the speakers at the breakfast.
The CommUnity Breakfast helped kick off a number of activities that will occur across Lake and Sumter in the coming days to commemorate the Jan. 15 birthday of the slain civil rights leader.
There will be literary contests, parades, church services and a health fair.
Louis Ward, chairman of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Committee of Lake and Sumter Counties, said the planned activities will help to promote the legacy of King.
“We still depend on his work for our direction,” Ward said.
The breakfast offered grits, eggs, bacon, sausage, fruit and other foods. A proclamation honoring King was presented by Sullivan and Dan Robuck III, Leesburg mayor. And other community leaders and speakers addressed the gathering.
Lake Minneola High School jazz band and Thomas Ware of Grace A.M.E. Church provided musical entertainment and the audience included Lake County Sheriff Peyton Grinnell, Leesburg Police Chief Rob Hicks, Leesburg Fire Chief David Johnson and various law enforcement officials.
One highlight of the breakfast was the presentation of the annual Pioneers & Patriots awards that recognized residents who have provided outstanding work in the surrounding communities. The honorees were Lillian Lockette, Pernell Mitchell, Dr. Charles Mojock, Max Parker Jr. and Ward.
The keynote speaker was the Rev. Dr. Shelia Y. Smalley of Macedonia Church of the Living God in Leesburg.
Other area events slated:
Friday, 6 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.
14th Annual Student Literary Awards Ceremony Everett Kelly Convocation Gymnasium , Lake-Sumter State College
9501 U.S. Hwy. 441, Leesburg
Leesburg Lake & Sumter middle school, high school, private/charter school, and college students will participate in this annual contest. Students compete in Essay, Oratorical, Art, and Skit/Theatrical, Multimedia/Music categories, receiving certificates, trophies, scholarships and cash prizes for their work. Come celebrate the academic and artistic talents of our youth.
Saturday, 11 a.m.—12:30 p.m. 11th Annual Dr. MLK, Jr. Parade/March
Main Street, Downtown Leesburg
A multicultural parade/march of floats, cars, motorcycles, bands, beauty queens, steppers, twirlers, armed services and others.