Stories shared at MLK breakfast

Posted 1/18/10

It’s the 12th year that Arapahoe Community College and the City of Littleton have collaborated to invite the community to the Dr. Martin Luther …

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Stories shared at MLK breakfast


It’s the 12th year that Arapahoe Community College and the City of Littleton have collaborated to invite the community to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast to honor the late civil rights leader who changed our nation in many ways. In January 1964, he visited Littleton and spoke to the Littleton Human Relations Council at Grace Presbyterian Church and his speech was replayed on Monday.

The interracial council was formed when local activists realized that black families were unable to buy homes in Littleton and it fostered fellowship through potluck dinners and programs for a number of years.

The 2010 program, in a full ACC Dining Hall, began with a welcome from interim ACC president Linda Bowman, who introduced keynote speaker, Littleton Mayor Doug Clark.

“Are we there yet?” Clark’s kids used to ask when they launched on a family vacation. He transferred that focus to our national journey toward equality and the racial profiling that still haunts us, citing last summer’s widely covered arrest, on breaking and entering charges, of Dr. Henry Louis Gates, distinguished Harvard scholar, as he entered his own home in Cambridge, Mass., after a trip.

“Its a process across cultures. Perceptions are often wrong… We must understand what our destination is… must figure out what the promised land is… we may have another 150 years of wandering… Martin Luther King started us on the process to change — let’s continue the process,” Clark concluded.

The Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Annual Service Award was given to Littleton’s Heritage High School and its Community Relations Committee, which has worked for three years to develop a school in poverty-stricken Sierra Leone, 6,000 miles away. The West African nation of 6.5 million people has been devastated by civil war and has very little infrastructure remaining.

In November 2009, 183 students started at Heritage High School in Sierra Leone, which was built with funds students raised. HHS Principal Ken Moritz called it a place for people to come together and cited teacher Tony Winger as a driving force in the project.” In five years, the student-run club raised raised $72,000 from the community, offering opportunity for students. A source of clean drinking water was also provided.

The connection continues as students correspond with each other.

Two scholarships were awarded: the ACC Foundation’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Scholarship was given to Regina Rhyte, a mother of five, who volunteers in the community and will graduate from ACC and continue her studies. The Ellie and Manny Greenberg Scholarship went to Erika Christensen, an interior design major and community volunteer, who will continue to study environmental design at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. The Greenberg’s daughter Julie presented a memorial, with words by her brother Michael, to the late Manny Greenberg, who died while traveling in China last summer.

Mark Barons, Littleton’s Neighborhood Resources Coordinator, closed the program with a plea for local volunteers to assist the needs of elderly and disabled residents in the community, 303-795-3856,


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