CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) – Mount Mercy University’s annual breakfast honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. featured university and student leaders and a city councilman.
Cedar Rapids City Councilman Dale Todd was the breakfast’s keynote speaker, telling stories of city policies that were changed because of conversations he had with people around him — a touchstone that used to encourage students to do the same to effect change around them.
About 100 people attended the breakfast hosted by the university’s Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Todd told a moving story about being on one of Dr King’s walks, a 6-year-old child.
“In 1966, my parents took me and my brothers on a march to Soldier Field in Chicago,” Todd said. “We marched from Soldier Field to City Hall. It was a famous march and speech that Dr. King gave. He was fighting for affordable housing in the city of Chicago at the time.”
He jokingly remembers that the temperature was very hot that day. Todd’s parents were involved in the civil rights movement.
“We collected food for the people of Selma, Alabama. We were playing in these big stacked dry goods castles and sending them out to help the people who were fighting the good fight in Selma,” Todd said.
The family paraded several times in Chicago.
“Our neighborhood was at the epicenter of the riots after the assassination of Dr. King. In 1968, we saw our city, like many other neighborhoods, burn. It was a stressful time, but it brought people together. They galvanized and worked together and changed the laws,” Todd said.
Over breakfast, several student leaders shared their thoughts, poetry and a selection of songs.
The university’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, made up of students, faculty, staff and administrators, has met once a month since October to plan the Monday breakfast.
Dr. Charles Martin-Stanley II is the head of the department.
“We wanted to host a launch event to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy. We actually have a whole week of events, but we wanted to have something that would really energize our entire community in an authentic and meaningful way. significant.” Martin-Stanley II said.