CSUSB opened the doors of Coussoulis Arena on Jan. 15, to welcome the Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches (IECAAC) and their 38th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Prayer Breakfast.
Campus workers gathered as early as Jan. 12 before the late Dr. King’s birthday in order to make sure everything needed for the event was set up and would operate smoothly.
Campus student workers set up over seven hundred chairs and over seventy tables in preparation for the large crowd that was to be expected come on Jan. 15, which would have been MLK’s eighty-ninth birthday. Sodexo, the company catering the event, worked around the clock in order to supply the large crowd with an ample amount of breakfast offerings.
The Prayer Breakfast itself started a little over ten years after Dr. King’s death and featured keynote speakers, a buffet style breakfast, scripture readings, dance expressions, dramatic representations and an awards ceremony.
IECAAC is an organization that wants to improve the quality of life for residents of the Inland Empire. This organization considers themselves to be the pillar of the African American community by utilizing resources as well as facilitating spiritual and technical expertise.
The IECAAC prides themselves on being an integral part of the Inland Empire community and the surge of change that has occurred within by transforming it into a vibrant, family-friendly community. One avenue this organization chooses to do this by is holding this annual prayer breakfast.
The event featured keynote speaker Dr. Michael Andrew Owens, who began preaching at the age of 15 in his hometown of Chester, Pa. Owens was called on by the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in May of 2017 to be the 20th pastor in the church’s 106-year history.
This year’s theme for the breakfast was “Embracing and Evolving in Future Excellence!” which chairperson Beverly Jones Wright explained is a commentary on the past year.
“Last year was an incredibly odd year for many, which was filled with anxiety and the most unexpected oddities,” said Wright. “We made conscious adjustments to our shocking daily news headlines, tweets, and allegations! We pray our fill of revelations may put us on track to focus on respect for women in every industry, the richness of diversity, and individual sports personalities’ rights to legitimate protest.”
Event coordinator and CSUSB alum Mike Arteaga added to the impact that the IECAAC’s annual prayer breakfast has on the Inland Empire community.
“The event always brings a large turnout of community members who are passionate and willing to do whatever it is they can to make a change within their community,” said Arteaga. “To be a part of such a thing really makes what I do worthwhile
The prayer breakfast featured over twenty participating churches across the Inland Empire and lasted about three hours.