The Los Angeles Inter-Alumni Council (IAC), a volunteer organization of Black College Alumni, is hosting its 19th annual Martin Luther King Day Breakfast on Monday, January 21st, at the Proud Bird, 11022 Aviation Blvd., Westchester. Admission is $35 per person, or $350 for a table of ten. Proceeds will benefit the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

Approximately 1,000 people are expected to attend, with 40 to 50 Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) represented by alumni members, says Luther Williams, president of the Los Angeles Inter-Alumni Council .

“Our purpose is to give alumni members a chance to come together in fellowship, to celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday and his legacy,” Luther Williams says.

The Los Angeles branch of the Inter-Alumni Council is an umbrella organization for all the alumni chapters of black colleges, with more than 40 chapters of alumni institutions represented. Each alumni chapter presents geographic variety and a wide range of both private institutions and state-supported schools.

All of the chapters are committed to the same mission, says Meta Williams, coordinator of the King Day Breakfast.

“All of the alumni of HBCUs have the same experience and know the profound impact it had on our lives, so we stay connected to give back to the community,” Meta Williams says. “None of the HBCUs are located on the West Coast, so we are the ambassadors so young people will remember that these options are out there.”

The goals of events such as these are to promote the educational opportunities available for young people of color and to expose students to the different options beyond strictly state schools, Meta Williams says.

“We recognize that these are really critical times in terms of urban communities, especially when you look at a city like Los Angeles and the dropout rate,” she says. “We see these institutions (HBCUs) as a way to break that cycle, because they reinforce and celebrate people of color.

“Students attend these schools and they see people who look like them, excelling on every level, and it’s motivational.”

The breakfast will feature several guest speakers, among them Dr. Dorothy Yancy, president of Johnson C. Smith University, in Charlotte, NC, and the Rev. Eric Lee, from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Dr. King’s legacy organization.

“There will also be two high school students, Ashley Calloway from (television show) Baldwin Hills, and Camille McGirt, a scholarship student going to Hampton University,” Meta Williams says.

“We do this event because we believe that education is still the great equalizer,” she says. “I am an inheritor to the doors that were opened from the civil rights movement and I therefore have a responsibility to hold the doors open to those who come behind me.” Information, (562) 424-3965.

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