2018 MLK Prayer Breakfast to Feature Founder Oralene Simmons

Ms. Oralene Simmons, founder of the MLK Association.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County, Inc. will host its 37th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast at the Crowne Plaza Resort on Saturday, January 13, 2018.

The theme of the 2018 breakfast is “Community over Chaos: Moving the Dream Forward.” Anticipating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, TN, the keynote address will be given by the organization’s founder, Oralene Simmons, who will discuss both her own journey and the larger civil rights history that helped lead to the establishment of the MLK Association.

The 2018 Prayer Breakfast begins at 8:30 a.m., with doors opening at 7:30 a.m. Tickets ($35 Patron; $25 Adult; $15 Youth) are available by calling (828) 335-6896, and at www.mlkasheville.org.

Ms. Simmons organized and hosted Asheville’s first MLK Prayer Breakfast in 1982 at the Montford Community Center, where she was its director. Beginning in 1997 she led the YMI Cultural Center as a nonprofit organization under contract with Asheville Parks & Recreation Department. Since retiring, Ms. Simmons has been active with the restoration committee for the Anderson Rosenwald School in Mars Hill and as a public speaker.

Additional public events

In addition to the Prayer Breakfast, the MLK Association holds several free events during the national holiday weekend to commemorate Dr. King and build upon his legacy of peace and justice.

Peace March and Rally – Monday, January 15 beginning at 11:30 a.m. at St. James AME Church at Martin Luther King Drive and Hildebrand Street, followed at noon by a march to City-County Plaza.

Candlelight Service – Monday, January 15 at 6 p.m. at Central United Methodist Church on Church Street in downtown Asheville. The service honors area citizens and organizations that have dedicated themselves to the cause of social justice.

On April 26, the association will honor area youth with a Youth Celebration and Awards, including a scholarship presentation. In June the association commemorates Juneteenth, the date (June 19) when word finally reached slaves in the deep South that they were free.

For information and details about the 2018 Prayer Breakfast, contact Darryl Rhymes, Chair of the Prayer Breakfast Committee, at mlkjrassociationinasheville@gmail.com. For more information about the MLK Association and related activities, visit the website at www.MLKAsheville.org.


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