President Jimmy Carter joined America’s Sunday Supper in Atlanta on Aug. 11 to discuss how the education and communities can collaborate to help youth achieve their dreams.
Sponsored by Points of Light, Target and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, this event was a kick-off for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. It was hosted at the Carter Presidential Center by Bernice A. King, Dr, King’s youngest daughter.
President Carter and other speakers shared memories of Dr. King and what MLK Day and the March’s upcoming anniversary this month mean to them. Delores Morton, president of Programs for Points of Light, and Laysha Ward, president of Community Relations for Target, shared the vision for America’s Sunday Suppers – a national movement that promotes bringing people together in service, dialogue and civic engagement while sharing a meal.
Bernice King led a panel discussion that included the Rev. C.T. Vivian, a civil rights deputy of Dr. King’s who just last week was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom; Dr. Dione Simon, principal of Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy; and Doug Shipman, chief executive officer of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
The panel talked about strides made and remaining challenges over the last 50 years. They all said parents, schools, teachers and communities must be vigilant in making learning exciting and in motivating young people to stay in school.
“We were deeply honored to co-host this event in Atlanta, the birthplace of Dr. King, and to bring together community leaders to discuss education, service and youth development to create a path to achieve the American dream,” said Laysha Ward of Target. “Together with Points of Light, we want these conversations to lead to action, strengthen our youth and communities, and honor the legacy of Dr. King.”
“We’re pleased that, with Target’s support, more than 50,000 people have pledged to participate and live Dr. King’s vision of ‘a table of brotherhood’ where Americans come together in the cause of social justice and opportunity for all,” said Tracy Hoover, president of Points of Light. “Tonight’s table was set with grace and intention toward that goal, and our guests were overwhelmingly positive.”
Those themes were reiterated as more than 140 guests engaged in table conversations around the theme Education, Youth and the “I Have a Dream” speech. Some of the noteworthy table hosts providing highlights to the crowd were basketball great Dikembe Mutumbo and Clark Atlanta University President Dr. Carlton E. Brown.
Eight-year-old Zaqary Asuamah of Decatur stole the show with a moving recitation of the “I Have a Dream” speech, which drew a standing ovation from the crowd and hugs from President Carter.
The event was the sixth Sunday Supper co-hosted by Target and Points of Light, following their pledge on MLK Day in January 2013 to engage supper guests around the nation in civic dialogue to create solutions and service projects to solve local community issues, especially related to education and youth empowerment.
The next America’s Sunday Supper will take place in San Antonio, Texas on Thursday, August 29 with a theme of Hispanic youth empowerment. To find out about hosting your own Sunday Supper, go to www.pointsoflight.org/mlk/host-americas-sunday-supper. To follow the conversations online, follow @PointsofLight on Twitter and use hashtag #2013MLKDay.
(Photo: By M. Alexis Scott. Laysha Ward (from left), president of community relations , Target; stands with Dione D. Simon, principal, Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy; Dr. C.T. Vivian, president, Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Bernice A. King, CEO, The King Center; Doug Shipman, CEO, National Center for Civil and Human Rights; and Delores Morton, president of programs Points of Light Foundation at the Aug. 11 “America’s Sunday Supper” event at The Carter Center.)