CONYERS — The Rockdale County Branch NAACP and the Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce hosted the 16th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast bright and early Monday morning at the Rockdale Career Academy.

Thomas Brantley, Rockdale NAACP president; Heather Duncan, Rockdale Public Schools board member; NAACP board member Chris Shipp, son of Pastor Christopher Shipp; and State Rep. Vernon Jones welcomed guests as the Salem High School Marching Band played several song selections.

The Rev. Phyllis Hatcher led prayer prior to food service.

Jones introduced guest speaker Kendrick Eily who filled in for his wife Dr. Lela McKnight-Eily due to illness.

Eily delivered a message of love, community and support.

“I am filling in for my wife, as she is under the weather, but not so much that she still came out to support me and to be a part of this wonderful event,” informed Eily. “It is truly an honor to speak before the NAACP. You are on the front lines for the push for human and social rights.”

Eily started with a prayer adapted from Rev. Dr. King’s “Thou Dear God.”

“Dear God, make us willing to be your will. Increase the number of persons of good will and moral sensitivity. Give us the confidence and the way of love by the way of Jesus Christ.

“Reaccounting Rockdale NAACP’s mission and accomplishments; you have partnered with local businesses, increased community awareness in collaboration with the school system to help parents and guardians to better understand school and testing requirements, you’ve increased scholarship opportunities for college students and you’ve taught the community the importance of the census and how it impacts our community...The very mission of the NAACP is to speak through unity in the search of social justice. The NAACP seeks to remove all barriers of racial discrimination in democratic processes.

“I am here today on the invitation of Mr. Thomas Brantley,” said Eily. “Thomas is my wife’s cousin, but I consider him my family, too. When he asked me to peak on behalf of my wife, I said yes because he is my family. I also wanted to realize that more than anything, if I asked the Lord to speak through me, I need to answer that call.

“Dr. King needs no introduction. Even in his death, he is eloquently spoken through his God ordained written word and scholarly teachings, as they are quoted by us freely as the epitome of what we strive to be as a society. Our anthem of liberty, our declaration of Justice, our place for unity and love, our universal dream of civil rights and walking hand in hand with people of all color in this life, remember above all, we come together in love... We study and continue to study Dr. King’s words to better our means from yesterday, to make sense of today and to shed light on what our tomorrow should be.”

Other sponsors of the event included Rockdale County Schools and Gregory B. Levett & Sons Funeral Homes.

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