COLUMBUS, Ga. – The day honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Columbus began bright and early, as hundreds recognized his indelible mark on the nation at the 31st Annual Alpha Unity Awards Breakfast at the Trade Center.
Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd served as the featured speaker. The former Alabama State University president emphasized education as the key to success. News 3 spoke with some of the organizers, who point to this date as one of the most important for raising funds for various local scholarship opportunities and other educational programs.
“[Dr. King’s] sacrifice in and of itself [was important.] Dr. King was a very young man when he died,” Alpha Phi Alpha’s SirMichael Jones said. “That’s not conventional. His hard earned work that’s being put into play is a testament and should be a testimony for all of us.”
Local leaders such as Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, Phenix City Mayor Eddie Lowe, Georgia state Rep. Calvin Smyre and Rep. Carolyn Hugley, as well as Sen. Ed Harbison were all in attendance. Columbus city councilor Glenn Davis believes that while Dr. King’s message has survived decades of turbulent times, his dream continues to live on.
“It doesn’t matter what race or ethnicity you are or anything like that,” Davis said. “That’s not the message. The message is you love one another as you would want someone to love you.”
The local fraternity chapter has raised almost $500,000 in scholarships and programs geared toward Columbus youth. Dr. King pledged Alpha Phi Alpha when he attended Morehouse College.