HOPE at Niles, Mt. Calvary Baptist Church host annual MLK Community Breakfast

Published 4:56 pm Monday, January 16, 2023

NILES — Dozens of community members celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during a community fellowship breakfast Monday morning at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Niles.

Hosted by HOPE at Niles and Mt. Calvary, the theme of the event was “Resilience and Perseverance In Changing Times”. 

The annual event featured emcee Marci Taylor of WSMK 99.1, guest speaker Charlie McAfee, a musical selection from Berean Seventh Adventist Church Pastor David Springer, a video presentation from LMC Dean of Diversity/Inclusion Cam Herth and a panel discussion about how Niles residents can use King’s inspiration to affect positive change in Southwest Michigan and beyond.

Panelists included:

  • Bishop Carlton Burrell, Pastor of New Vision Church 
  • Dr. Adam Burtsfield, Assistant Superintendent of Niles Schools
  • Debra Johnson, AVP of Love and Respect; Chief Experience Officer of CoreWell Health 
  • Pastor Dwayne West, Business Owner

Mt. Calvary Sr. Pastor Reverend Bryant L. Bacon appreciated the strong turnout and the panel discussions while adding that he hopes the messages received during the event lead to positive changes to the community.

“I’m supportive of these events but I always walk away disappointed after these events,” he said. “I’ve done racial reconciliation conferences all over this area only to walk away and nothing ever got reconciled. So my pitch is this – we come to these breakfasts and lets actually make something happen… I don’t think it’s just something for us to come together and have a good time and eat. I think it starts on all levels – political levels, our governmental levels, our  educational levels, our spiritual levels.”

Hope at Niles President Beverly Woodson echoed Bacon’s message, reminding those in attendance that their voice matters in their communities.

“We all sit back and complain, but you don’t complain to the right people,” she said. “You have a voice, speak your voice. If you don’t like what’s going on, go to the city council meetings. I don’t know why we sit back and don’t think we can speak out what we are feeling. If enough of us come together, I guarantee you, we will be heard.”