“Keep moving forward, keep doing the work because it’s not complete,” said Shirley Weber, Ph.D., California Secretary of State, to hundreds who gathered for the 51st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Brotherhood Breakfast held last week at the Bonaventure Hotel.
The annual event celebrates and affirms the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles’ and their partner organizations’ share commitment to Dr. King’s legacy. Victor Dominguez, President and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, the first person of color to lead the organization, thanked Chelsea Crowder-Luke, Vice President of J.P. Moran Private Bank for her work as chair of the breakfast and Andrew Cromwell, Vice President of Wealth Management, D.A. Davison & Company and Chair of the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles.
In his remarks, Dominguez challenged attendees to continue the work of Dr. King, quoting from King’s famous letter written while he was jailed in Birmingham, Alabama in April 1963.
“Your theme [for the breakfast] is ‘keep moving forward’ which is interesting to me because I’m thinking, what would you do other than that?” said Weber addressing Dominguez and the hundreds gathered. “Sit down, roll backwards? And yet many people do sit down and do roll backwards and lose the progress that we have made and that, to me, is totally unacceptable.”
Weber said she is shocked that she is still addressing the issue of voting rights. She said the nation is seeing a movement backwards in the worst kind of way and we should be outraged. Now in her second term as Secretary of State, she is the first African American Secretary of State in the state’s history. Weber explained she answered the call to service rather seek retirement because she felt guilty. For 30 years, she said, she had been urging her students to be ready for the day they are called to service and answer it.
“There was nothing extraordinary about Martin Luther King,” said Weber. “He was just an ordinary man who answered the call when so many people who did not. I always tell people to remember that because so often we think folks who served in these positions are really extraordinary individuals. But they’re just ordinary people addressing extraordinary problems; and we have to keep that in mind because if we don’t, we won’t do anything ourselves. We will stop moving forward and stop doing things that are essential.”
Weber was an inspiring keynote speaker at the annual celebration, where the Los Angeles Metropolitan YMCA also honored Nichol Whiteman, Chief Executive of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, with its 2023 Brotherhood Award, and Blake Bolden, former Nation Women’s Hockey League player and current NHL Scout ,with the 2023 Human Dignity Award. Whiteman was recognized for her leadership and service to the Los Angeles community. Bolden was recognized for her excellence as a professional hockey player and her unique position as an NHL Scout of the LA Kings.
The Buzz was a guest of Anderson Munger Family YMCA Executive Director Rae Jin and her team, our local YMCA located on Oxford Street and Third Street just east of Western. We were joined by staff and several board members, including John Winther. The breakfast concluded with the entire gathering singing “We Shall Overcome.”
About Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.
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