City, local organizations unite for joint Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast for first time in 5 years

The 37th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast will be held Friday at the Prime Osborn Convention Center as city and local organizations unite their events for the first time since 2019.

For the past five years, the city and local organizations such as the NAACP Jacksonville Branch, Jacksonville Urban League and Jax Chamber hosted dueling celebrations on the same day.

The president of the Urban League said with all of that in the past, he’s excited about the event because it shows change.

“I think it’s going to be an awesome function. A very symbolic opportunity for us to acknowledge the works of Martin Luther King Jr.,” Richard Danford said.

This year’s breakfast theme is “Love and Light: Strength through Unity,” inspired by King’s famous quote: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

RELATED: After years of division, city, local groups will unite for single Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast in January

The unity breakfast starts at 7 a.m. Friday. The program will spotlight young student essay winners and will include remarks from Mayor Donna Deegan and leaders from the NAACP, Urban League and Jax Chamber.

The breakfast also kicks off a week of service, where people are encouraged to volunteer in their communities.

A rally Saturday morning at the Ritz Theatre and Museum on North Davis Street will jump-start the week’s activities. Speakers include the mayor, Jacksonville City council members, and the CEO of United Way of Northeast Florida, which is partnering with the city for the volunteer events.

Participants can sign up for volunteer projects in Duval, Clay and Nassau counties. Learn more here

LIST: Calendar of events for MLK Week of Service

Feeding Northeast Florida will hold several food distribution events on Saturday to serve about 200 families in need with food and other supplies on a first-come, first-served basis. The locations are:

Nassau County: 8 a.m. at the MLK Center in Fernandina BeachDuval County: 9 a.m. at the Schell Sweet Center in NewtownDuval County: 10 a.m. at the Eastside Terrace ApartmentsDuval County: 11 a.m. at the King Solomon Baptist Church in North RiversideClay County: 11 a.m. at Vera Francis Hall Park

Other events this week include the MLK Day Grand Parade on Monday, which begins at 10 a.m. at Lot J near EverBank Stadium and winds through Downtown Jacksonville to the Prime Osborn Convention Center.

Following the parade is the MLK DAY at the Prime celebration from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday at the Prime Osborn Convention Center. The event features workshops, a drumline competition, a book fair, a kids zone and much more.

The event is free and open to the public, but visitors are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item.

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