Reverend Charles Coverdale, pastor of the said Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday is especially meaningful this year.
"This year is particularly fitting with Dr King's dream -- this is the exact day of celebration when President Barack Obama is being sworn in, as an African American president of the United States. It just happened to fall on the same day, but it's major," he said.
For the 28th year, the First Baptist Church of Riverhead will host the 28th anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast.
The event will be held at 8 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Wind Watch Hotel in Hauppauge.
Honored at the event will be the 2013 MLK Jr. Meritorious Award recipients, individuals who are chosen "by the way they embody Dr. King's ideals, and work tirelessly to make his dream a reality for all humanity," Coverdale said.
Among the honorees is Riverhead's Thaddeus Hill, executive director of the Timothy Hill Children's Ranch.
Also honored will be Belinda Alvarez-Groneman, President of the Board of Directors of PRONTO of Long Island, Inc.; Professor James W. Banks, Suffolk County Community College Coordinator of Multicultural Affairs; Debrah Garcia, Executive Director & CEO of Long Island Head Start; and Bishop Harrison Hale, Pastor of the Cornerstone Church of God In Christ and Bishop of the Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Panama GOGIC Jurisdictions.
"This event is one of the first that brought together the entire County of Suffolk to help celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday," Coverdale said. "We did it before it became a national holiday."
The goal, Coverdale, is to create a community, not church event, bringing together all walks of life including businesses, universities, government officials, and representatives from all houses of worship, as well as members from different branches of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Guest speaker this year will be the Rev. Dr. Marvin A. McMickle, who Coverdale said is "an accomplished pastor, a sought-after speaker, a credentialed theologian, educator, and a prolific author."
Dr. McMickle is the President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester.
"That's where Martin Luther King, Jr. went," Coverdale said. "We are unique in getting him to speak." Many people have asked him how the church was able to book Dr. McMickle to speak. "I read in the paper that he was coming to Colgate and I called, and he was there," Coverdale said. "I believe in persistence."
Tables for 10 can be reserved with a donation of $500. Individual tickets also may be purchased for a donation of $50. Make checks payable to “MLK, Jr. Breakfast” and mail to MLK Breakfast Committee, 1018 Northville Turnpike, Riverhead, NY 11901. Seating will be reserved upon receipt of payment. Call 631-727-3446 for further information.