The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Afrocentricity theorist Molefi Kete Asante to speak at 15th annual MLK Breakfast

Photo by Courtesy of MSC WBAC
MLK Breakfast

Every year since 2007, Texas A&M students, faculty and distinguished guests have gathered in celebration of the Black community and reflected on Martin Luther King Jr.’s global impact.
The 15th Annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast will be hosted on Wednesday, Jan. 26 from 9-11 a.m. by the Memorial Student Center’s Woodson Black Awareness Committee, or MSC WBAC. Moderated by Lt. Col. Stephen G. Ruth, Class of 1992, in the Bethancourt Ballroom, attendees will hear a keynote address from Molefi Kete Asante, Ph.D., while honoring King’s legacy of activism.
JJ Torres, a sociology graduate student and The Village Sub-Committee director for MSC WBAC, said Asante was chosen among five candidates for this year’s breakfast for his influential ideas and impact on the Black community. Asante is known for developing his theory on Afrocentricity, which inspired a movement across the United States in the 1980s.
Torres said he’s looking forward to hearing Asante share how King inspired his work.
“Most people view Afrocentricity kind of with a stereotype,” Torres said. “When it was concepted it kind of blossomed a whole early ‘90s, late ‘80s movement about Afro-positivity, positive Black images. [Asante] was very influential in that ideal … [and King’s] legacy moved those ideas of justice into the mainstream.”
Political science senior and MSC WBAC chair Matthew Francis, who has been involved with the MLK Breakfast since his freshman year, said he hopes this year’s event can expand even further upon previous breakfasts.
“Our goal is to provide the opportunity for some learning and some growth,” Francis said. “Each time we put on a breakfast, people always leave with a new perspective and a new learning of the legacy of the Reverend Dr. King, and what he actually stood for in his goal to achieve equal rights and protections for all people.”
Torres said it is still relevant to remember King’s legacy today because social justice is an ongoing process, as highlighted by the “tumultuous” times of the past few years.
“Dr. King’s legacy means a chance for hope, an encouragement to do better society-wise, and not just with regard to race, but all aspects of society,” Torres said. “It’s something we’re still working on. It’s not perfect yet, [but] … there is plenty of hope to go around.”
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s breakfast is limited to 200 in-person attendees, with a Zoom webinar option for other interested parties. Ashley Dean, communication junior and vice chair of Development and Personal Relations for MSC WBAC, said this event invites attendees to expand their knowledge.
“The goal of the breakfast is to really educate the campus by honoring Dr. King’s legacy,” Dean said. “Everyone comes together to celebrate him in this key event that we have on campus. [It’s an opportunity] to learn more about ourselves and about each other, to be able to have conversations we wouldn’t normally have on a daily basis.”
Several colleges and departments across the university support the breakfast annually; however, Dean said MSC WBAC was able to secure its first business partner in support of this year’s event, Aggieland Credit Union, whose donations helped pay for in-person tickets.
While the in-person event is already sold out, campus members can check the MSC WBAC website for information on joining the live Zoom webinar next Wednesday.
Francis said having this event to honor King, someone who has a legacy of service and integrity, is especially poignant on A&M’s campus.
“In an Aggie’s perspective,” Francis said, “The fact that Dr. King really exemplifies what [A&M’s Core Values] means: Respect of all people, Excellence, Leadership, Loyalty, Integrity and Selfless Service; it speaks to a lot of things that us Aggies should always strive to exemplify every day.”

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