UCA celebrates King’s legacy with annual prayer breakfast

The University of Central Arkansas honored the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in its annual prayer breakfast on Friday, Jan. 13. Hosted by the UCA’s Office of Diversity and Community, the event featured vocal performances, prayer and a keynote address proceeded by a buffet-style breakfast for more than 200 attendees. 

“It is so good to be back in person the way we were before the pandemic,” said Angela Jackson, director of the office of diversity and community. “This is one of the largest turnouts we have had. It was a great event, and I am overjoyed.” 

“When I think about his legacy, I reminisce about how he wanted all of us to have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…He wanted us to live lives free from the fog of fear, fret and faithlessness,” said Riva Brown, associate professor of public relations and coordinator for the bachelor of general studies degree program, who served as the master of ceremonies for the event. “During his short time here, he leaned into leadership, let his light shine and allowed his love to flow ever so freely to all he called brothers and sisters.” 

President Houston Davis provided greetings and acknowledged dignitaries and special guests in the audience. Three UCA Concert Choir students gave musical performances during the ceremony. Mary Rowe sang Undine Smith Moore’s “Come Down Angels, Nia Kelly sang the traditional spiritual “Soon We’ll be Done,” and Karriem Shabazz performed Mosen Hogan’s arrangement of “Walk Together Children.” Music professor Julia Buckingham accompanied the singers on piano. 

Odie Phillips, pastor of Greater Fellowship Christian Church, and Jason Aultman, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church, gave opening and closing prayers for the ceremony. 

E.C. Maltbia, the senior pastor of True Holiness Saints Center and UCA Board of Trustees member, delivered the keynote address. Maltbia said King’s words and actions are a source of inspiration and empowerment. He gave three ways to continue pushing the momentum forward. 

“If we’re going to keep the dream of Dr. King alive in 2023 and beyond, We’ve got to be men and women are strong character. We’ve got to treat other people the way we want to be treated, and we do it by serving our community,” Maltibia said. “We’ve got to be willing to roll up our sleeves and donate our time and other resources to noteworthy organizations and causes throughout our community. We’ve got to remember the underserved around us.”

Attendees were encouraged to donate to UCA’s Bear Essentials Food Pantry and attend other events, including: 

  • Silent March Jan. 17 at 1:40 p.m. will begin at Crafton Alumni Pavillion and end at Old Main. The march is hosted by the Students for the Propagation of Black Culture.
  • True Black History Museum Feb. 1. Visitors can drop in from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the Ronnie Williams Student Center Ballroom. The event is sponsored by the Student Activities Board. 
  • Feb. 1 at noon, the City of Conway is hosting a dedication ceremony for the Martin Luther King statue at Martin Luther King Jr. Square in downtown Conway.