I don't do many early morning meetings. And by early morning, I mean those that start before 9 a.m. I worked evenings for 27 years in nursing, and my brain doesn't cooperate if I try to get it into gear early. The Skanner Foundation annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Foundation Breakfast at the Oregon Convention Center is one important exception. And this year attendance was even more compelling, since despite the gracious invitation of the City of Portland's Procurement Services department to join their table group again, I was given the high honor of sitting at the head table on stage. Many thanks to Publisher, Bernie Foster, and Editor, Bobbie Dore Foster, for this amazing experience. It provided memories I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life.
Mike Green, formerly of the Black Innovation and Competitiveness Initiative was the Keynote Speaker. He ran through some compelling, depressing statistics and historical data. For instance, that Alabama was the final state to change its Constitution to recognize the Loving v. Virginia case in the U.S. Supreme Court, legalizing inter-racial marriage. Alabama didn't change its law until 2000... and 40% of its voters cast ballots opposing the change. In 2000.
On a much more positive note, Mr. Green spoke of his current work, the America 21 Project. He and his partners aim to create a pilot in Portland on entrepreneurship, capital development, and education.
The Skanner Foundation breakfast always provides both inspirational speakers, and also announcement of scholarships for amazing students who have overcome significant challenges to succeed in school. Two students honored today were Kelsey Haws, a senior at Open Meadow High School, and Shaniece Curry of De La Salle HS. I particularly appreciated that U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley also took the time to congratulate these two outstanding young women.