The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was celebrated around Massachusetts on Monday, including at Boston's annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Day Breakfast that took place at the Boston Convention Center.
Bakari Sellers, a CNN political analyst, lawyer, and activist, was the keynotespeaker at the event, which celebrates King's vision for peace and justice, acting as a call for completing the civil rights leader's unfinished agenda.
Boston’s biggest and oldest MLK day event featured several of the state’s most prominent politicians who emphasized the rocky week relative to race relations.
“To those who would demean and insult or bring down others simply because they are different, I have a very simple message for them. This country is great because of its diversity, not in spite of it,” Governor Charlie Baker said.
There were numerous jabs at the person many in the room blame for creating the unease, including from Senator Elizabeth Warren, who said, Donald Trump is a racist bully and we know how to deal with bullies.”
While President Trump says he is the least racist person you’ll ever meet, it was a hard sell to the breakfast crowd where many feel Trump is only ramping up racial tension.
On the day created to celebrate King’s dream, Senator Ed Markey spoke about another person’s dream: “Donald Trump has a dream that one day our nation will have no more Muslims or Mosques.”
Asked if the US has taken a step backward in race relations, Senator Warren said, “I certainly think that’s where the President of United States is trying to pull this country. Backwards.”
Republican US Senate candidate Geoff Diehl defended Trump’s comments as being aimed at keeping the US safe, saying, “I think there is a misinterpretation maybe in Massachusetts, maybe here in Boston, as to what the president’s mission is.”
And Diehl criticized his opponent, Senator Warren, for being divisive when she made this comment: “When he refers to sh*t hole countries in Africa and when he uses that hateful rhetoric to push discrimination in America, you better believe we will fight back.”
Both Senators Warren and Markey say democrats are ready for the week ahead in Washington where they say they are preparing for a show down over DACA and funding for opioids and children’s health insurance.
Elsewhere in Massachusetts Monday, Governor Baker traveled to Springfield to attend the 2018 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at the MassMutual Center.
Back in Boston, the Museum of African American History and the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras teamed up to present "A Day of Celebration in Honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.," at Boston University.
BU officials had said the celebration of the day would be shaped by concerns about President Donald Trump's administration and its commitment to civil rights.
Mayor Walsh helped lead the event.
"This is one of our most cherished traditions," Walsh said. "Every man is an heir to the legacy of dignity and worth."
King received a doctorate degree in systematic theology from Boston University in 1955 and later donated his papers to the school before his assassination in 1968.
Speakers at a morning ceremony included poet Kamilah Aisha Moon and university President Robert A. Brown.
Moon said in an interview published by BU that educational institutions are "under direct threat" from the Trump administration and that King's message is particularly important today.
Later in the day, Sen. Elizabeth Warren delivered the welcome address for the MLK Day of Service in Cambridge. The event is hosted by Many Helping Hands 365 and other city agencies.
The Day of Service events includes projects to benefit the homeless, homebound elderly, and children and families.
And in Lynn, Democratic U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton hosted a community service event to honor the King legacy.