No MLK Day breakfast at UMaine this year because of planning problems

Posted Jan. 16, 2013, at 8:51 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 16, 2013, at 10:55 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — There will be no 17th Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast this year at the University of Maine because local NAACP officials had other commitments and ran out of time to organize the event, chapter leaders said Wednesday.

The breakfast is planned each year by the Greater Bangor Area NAACP and usually is hosted by the University of Maine.

“The people that were primarily involved in making sure it transpired every year got involved in some other activities,” Bob Talbot, an executive committee member at the NAACP chapter, said Wednesday afternoon.

Many of the organization’s active members and leaders had been occupied by November’s election. By the time election season wrapped up, there wasn’t enough time to find a speaker and organize the breakfast, according to Talbot.

Greater Bangor Area NAACP acting President George Mathis said Wednesday he has been traveling along the East Coast since November visiting family members, some of whom he hasn’t seen in a long time. He said he had been taking a break from his duties with the NAACP and other organizations to “recharge,” but is in the process of packing his bags to return to Maine.

The chapter’s board had several meetings that didn’t draw a quorum because of its members’ busy schedules, so it never got around to discussing potential speakers or planning other aspects of the event, according to Mathis. The organization try to attract new members and more involvement this year.

He said the chapter would start planning for the 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast earlier this year, and hopes to bring the event back to the university.

Last year’s breakfast brought professor Denise Patmon, director of the undergraduate teacher licensure program at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, to UMaine to deliver the keynote address.

The University of Maine plans to hold a series of children’s activities that focus on diversity and teach about the life and ideals of Martin Luther King Jr. at the Old Town-Orono YMCA from noon to 3:30 p.m. UMaine students, AmeriCorps Service members and community members will lead children through activities, which will include craft projects, deaf-culture awareness, group discussions and team-building activities.

All children who attend the event will receive a free T-shirt.

Several groups in the Bangor area have scheduled events, including:

• A vegetarian potluck at 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, followed by a talk by Esther Altvater Attean, community organizing director of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare, Truth and Reconciliation Commission at 7 p.m. at the Peace and Justice Center at 96 Harlow St. in Bangor.

• The 8th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Vigil, sponsored by the Maine Human Rights Coalition, at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 120 Park St. in Bangor.

• The annual Martin Luther King service at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 225 French Street in Bangor. The guest speaker will be Bangor school Superintendent Betsy Webb.

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