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Martin Luther King Jr. Day speakers urge Midwest City breakfast guests to ignite change

Speakers at Midwest City's 15th annual Martin Luther King Jr. prayer breakfast urged participants to live out King's ideals by committing to make the community, state and nation better for future generations.
BY CARLA HINTON chinton@opubco.com Modified: January 16, 2012 at 6:44 pm •  Published: January 16, 2012

— A person willing to stand up for what is right — no matter what — can be the kind of change agent that Martin Luther King Jr. became.

So said preachers, civic leaders and other guest speakers at Midwest City's 15th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast on Monday at the Reed Conference Center.

Breakfast speakers, staying true to the event's theme, “Courage in the Face of Adversity,” urged attendees to face down any obstacles standing in their way of making their neighborhoods and communities better for future generations.

Oklahoma City police Lt. Paco Balderrama, one of three guest speakers, said King is a shining example of the theme.

“He was threatened. He was cursed. He was belittled. He had the moral strength to carry on. Why? Because civil rights is a moral, honorable issue worth fighting for,” Balderrama said.

Angela Monson, Oklahoma City School Board chairman, and Rodney Farrow, a Midwest City High School graduate and University of Oklahoma student, also spoke.

About 300 people attended the morning gathering, with welcoming remarks given by event Chairman Joyce Jackson and Midwest City Mayor Jack Fry.

Balderrama said he thinks one of the greatest dangers to society is the breakdown of the family unit. Citing bleak statistics regarding the family backgrounds of youths he interacts with on a daily basis, Balderrama encouraged attendees to find and offer love and guidance to young people and families who need positive role models in their lives.

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