30th Annual Frankford Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast Celebration

This year, January 18, 2016,  marked the 30th annual Frankford Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast Celebration. The gathering, usually held in Frankford was moved to Mariana Bracetti Academy when the original location fell through.

The morning started slowly with hot coffee and the occasional gust of cold air as people trickled in. Jennifer Powell-Folks, the morning’s emcee, welcomed everyone, offering gratitude to the support of the Frankford Coalition of Neighbors, the Frankford Garden Club, and Mariana Bracetti Academy.

The Frankford High School ROTC braved the cold and came out to the breakfast in full regalia to do the Presentation of Arms and National Anthem.

A hot breakfast of buttered grits, scrambled eggs, bacon, and fruit, with more than enough hot coffee and tea to go around was served by Sloane Folks and volunteers from the Frankford Community Development Corporation.

As everyone finished their food and warmed their hands on Styrofoam cups, two students from the Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School poured libations – a traditional African ceremony to bless and honor ancestors and those who paved the ways before us. “And today we recognize Martin Luther King, ashe. Fannie Lou Hamer, ashe. Ella Baker, ashe.” One young woman recited as the other poured water into a bouquet of flowers. “We pour libations to the Frankford Community, ashe.

We pour libations to change, ashe.” The God’s Creation Choir of children from the Campbell AME Church sang an uplifting rendition of Lift Every Voice and Sing followed by Reverend Sandra Brown offering her reflections from the Frankford-Oxford Ministeriam. Both Imam Yousef Jamaladdin of Masjid Taha and Reverend Robyn Hynicka also offered their reflections from the community and their congregations. Reverend Hynicka expressed his deep gratitude for the welcomeness of the community. “Frankford’s good for that. We’re good at opening our doors to everyone.”

Steve Blackburn of Carson Valley Children’s Aid came to the mic and recognized the service of numerous community leaders like Bill Gambrel the “unofficial mayor of Frankford” as Blackburn put it. Both Blackburn and Powell-Folks took this time to extend posthumous honor to Madge Trickey, a Frankford native and long-time activist in the Frankford faith communities and Frankford Coalition of Neighbors.

From L-R it’s Jennifer Powell-Folks, Johnnie Mae Parker, Janet Bernstein, Connie Whitmore, and Helen Waller

From L-R it’s Jennifer Powell-Folks, Johnnie Mae Parker, Janet Bernstein, Connie Whitmore, and Helen Waller

Captain McCloskey, the police captain for the Frankford area, gave a message of support and love to the neighbors present. He acknowledged the hardships of Frankford and of communications between minority neighborhoods and police. “We’re not gonna solve the problem as just the police. We’re not gonna solve the problem as just the community. We have to come together and work together. And that’s what we do.”

Dr. Ayeshi Imani was also called to offer her reflections on the founding of Sankofa Freedom Academy. Students from the school presented a spoken word poem and a beautiful version of Stand By Me that had everyone clapping and singing along by the end. “I’m so proud to be in a community that is doing the work,” Dr. Imani said.

The afternoon rounded to a close with words of gratitude and remembrance from Johnnie Mae Parker, Janet Burnstein, Helen Waller, and Connie Whitmore of the Frankford Garden Club.

Finally, Reverend Robyn Hynicka came to the mic again to offer a closing prayer. “If you don’t have a good village, it’s hard to be a good person,” he said. “And I feel blessed to be a part of a good village.”