The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday is coming up on Monday and St. Cloud State and the St. Cloud community are partnering to celebrate with numerous events including a speech from author/journalist and musician Lee Hawkins on Monday at Rivers Edge Convention Center.  Hawkins is a Maplewood, Minnesota native, is author of the book "NOBODY'S SLAVE: How Uncovering My Family's History Set Me Free", is a University of Wisconsin graduate, has worked with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wall Street Journal and is currently a Journalism Fellow at The Carter Center in New York City.  Hawkins won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the R&B category in 2011 for his song "I Love You Woman". In 2012 he released the album Midnight Conversations, which included the song.

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Hawkins and St. Cloud State Vice President for Equity and Inclusion & Title IX Coordinator Office of Institutional Equity and Access, Chocoletta Simpson joined me on WJON.  Hawkins explained his message is similar to that of Dr. King in that change can happen in this country and equal rights can be obtained through non-violent measures.  He says the country has come a long way since Dr. King's movement in the 1960s that led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Hawkins explains the trouble we've seen over the past 60 years is America getting used to equal rights for all in this country.  He says "we had a long way to go but we've come a long way" since the 1960s.

Hawkins says when violence has been involved in the civil rights movement over the years, that is when progress hasn't been made.  He indicated he didn't like the violent protests that occurred after the death of George Floyd but did appreciate the non violent protests that consisted of people of numerous races and backgrounds.

On Monday the annual MLK Breakfast at the River's Edge Convention Center will take place starting at 8:15 a.m.


If you'd like to see the entire schedule of events they are available here.


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