MLK Event Update

UNITY BREAKFAST SUCCESSFUL                                                                        

Despite the rainy weather, the second annual Unity Breakfast held Monday, Jan. 21 at Mt. San Jacinto College drew more than twice the participants than it did last year.

About 170 people gathered in the library at the San Jacinto campus for a free breakfast, to recognize poetry and art contest winners and hear inspirational talks as part of a celebration of the vision of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Many of those at the breakfast joined other volunteers afterward to clean up local parks and perform other volunteer service projects.

Willie Hamilton, professor of political science at MSJC and event organizer, said he started the Unity Breakfast last year because he knew of no other celebrations to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Hemet-San Jacinto Valley.

He said he joined forces with the Central County United Way, which organized the volunteer service projects, to further promote King’s belief in community service. AmeriCorps, Miller Jones Mortuary, the city of San Jacinto and MSJC Diversity Committee also sponsored events of the day.

“I’m hoping that it (the event) brings the community together,” he said during the breakfast.

Hamilton thanked Dr. Jon Tyler, MSJC’s interim president, for Tyler’s and the college’s support of the event. MSJC funded the breakfast and staff from MSJC set the tables with linens and cooked the meal.

Dr. Tyler awarded Diversity Committee members Hamilton, Maria E. Lopez and Denise Dalaimo, committee chairwoman, with plaques recognizing their work.

Hamilton, Tyler, Lopez, Dalaimo
Dr. Jon Tyler recognizes Diversity Committe members Willie Hamilton, Maria E. Lopez and Denise Dalaimo, committe chairwoman.

San Jacinto Mayor Jim Ayres recognized Hamilton’s work in honoring Martin Luther King with a plaque from the city of San Jacinto. Ayres attended the breakfast with his wife, Nancy, a San Jacinto Unified School District trustee, and Mike Emberton, the city’s public works director.

Pastor Charles Hentley of the Reconciliation Christian Assembly in Hemet urged those at the breakfast to shake hands with others they did not yet know and kept the crowd laughing before he launched into a brief, but inspirational talk about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mary Snow, program director for the Central County United Way, reminded the crowd that people should volunteer every day.

The event was so popular that about 90 volunteers could not attend the breakfast because of the limited seating, so United Way bought them breakfast burritos, Snow said.

About 150 volunteers picked up trash, planted flowers, packed care-packages for soldiers and painted around the community, Snow said.

Cristy Molaug, 17, of Hemet won first place in the art contest. She crafted a poster that featured smaller pictures of Dr. King pasted over a large, black-and-white photo of Dr. King.

“He was such an inspirational man,” she said after finishing her breakfast. “We need to keep observing this day to honor him.”

Second place was awarded to Tamar Floyd of Idyllwild, third place went to Anayesil Martinez of Perris, and the poetry contest winner was Susan Squier of Hemet.