A breakfast born from a legacy


Senior Michael Coleman accepts a Building Bridges Award at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Breakfast on Monday in Alumni Hall. The event celebrated individuals whose work honors the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Rabi Abonour Buy Photos

This year, the annual Leadership Breakfast followed that, honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and the organizations and students who embody it.

About 100 University officials, students and community members gathered in Alumni Hall for the breakfast, which was coordinated by IU’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs.

The breakfast held special meaning for senior Shabrelle Pollock, the undergraduate winner of the 2011 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest.

In her essay, the journalism major illustrated how King and his ideas have influenced her by sharing the story of her great-grandmother, a woman who devoted her life to fighting for civil rights.

“My great-grandmother has always been connecting people from all kinds of backgrounds in the community,” Pollock said. “This corresponds to Dr. King’s ideal.”

Through her retelling of her grandmothers’ 101-year life journey, Pollock demonstrated how people in the community can make a difference in advancing democracy.

“She spent many years in her life educating people both in and outside classroom,” Pollock said. “Intelligence is not enough. It is intelligence plus character, and that is the true goal of education she teaches us.”

Referring to Jackson’s quote, Laura Plummer, contest organizer and director of Writing Tutorial Services, said this year’s theme asked contestants to consider how to take an active role in sustaining King’s work.

She said it provided an opportunity for students to think about the sacrifices made in following King’s legacy.

Pollock, along with Hangyul Kim, a first-year doctoral student studying violin performance, stood out among the 20 other applicants. But they were not the only people being awarded.

Exemplifying King’s work were the two recipients of the Building Bridges award, which recognizes a community group and a student who have promoted unity, equality and diversity at IU as well as in Bloomington.

This year, the community award went to Get Real About Discrimination Empowerment Group, an anti-discrimination advocacy organization, while the student award was given to IU Student Association President and senior Michael Coleman.

“It’s really about getting involved,” said David Hummons, director of Community and Student Engagement. “The idea is that all kinds of people — not just black and white — mingle and work together to learn and take action.”


Soprano Lenora Green sings "Lift Every Voice and Sing" at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Breakfast on Monday in Alumni Hall. The crowd joined together to sing along. Rabi Abonour Buy Photos

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