Rainbow PUSH Excel officials last week announced the 33rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Scholarship Breakfast to be held Monday, January 16, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, 2121 S. Prairie Ave., which will not only raise educational funds but will set a national model for educating children.
This year’s scholarship breakfast theme is “What is Your Blueprint for Life?”
Officials’ remarks were made during a press conference at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition national headquarters, 930 E. 50th St. Executive staff outlined the upcoming King event that includes rolling out a national educational agenda for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and its affiliates in New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, D.C., Detroit and San Francisco.
Bishop Tavis Grant, acting National Executive Director for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, told the Chicago Crusader, “This year Rev. Jackson is rolling out a national agenda called ‘A Blueprint for Life.’ It involves education, innovation and the integration of private and public policy makers. He is working on the idea of creating a sustainable community. We have to combat both poverty, unemployment and a pandemic. These three will not serve us well if we are dismissive and neglectful [of these issues] in putting forth a national agenda that not only saves but raises [them] at the same time. It is in the spirit of Dr. King.
“Reverend Jackson was the mayor of Tent City during the Poor People’s Campaign. The issues then are the same issues today. They are exacerbated by the wealth gap, by unemployment and poverty. All of these are aspects and elements in a collective, comprehensive way,” Grant said.
“We can not only tackle them, but we can defeat them.”
Grant said the message for this year’s MLK breakfast is clear. “This is the generation that will make the biggest difference in all of the gains in the Civil Rights Movement. This is the generation that has greater accessibility, greater mobility and a heightened creativity because of the innovation of technology. With these tools, there is no way we can’t achieve our highest good.”
National PUSH Executive Director Rev. Janette Wilson, explained that this year’s MLK/PUSH message, which she said was taken from Dr. King’s October 26, 1967, visit with Barratt Junior High School students where Dr. King asked the students, “Where is your blueprint for life?”
Wilson said the elements of the life’s blueprint must include the “three elements of a person, the spiritual, mental and physical health. Our Breakfast is designed to help our students, parents and equations understand what we need to provide so our students can be competitive on a global scale.
“We know that everyone must understand STEAM in order to enter the workforce,” Wilson said.
She ticked off a list of the PUSH Excel 2023 agenda that includes courses like robotics, serving and cooking meals, fast food franchises, and financial literacy that will be driven by the online bank services.
“Pretty soon we will not be using currency to transact business. We’re teaching civics education. We are launching a program to teach young people how to deal with conflict resolution. We have to teach students how to respond in a non-violent way. It also teaches them the Gandhi-Dr. King principles of non-violence.”
Wilson said they are using Chicago as a model, an incubator for training students and equations for the 21st Century.
“We are announcing our after-school 2023 model program in all six of our satellite cities so that we will begin to see these programs emerge so students can memorize great speakers and teach children how to write, how to analyze students, how to apply and get financial aid, and to provide scholarships for those who qualify,” she said.
“We are teaching children how to have a well-rounded education,” Wilson said, emphasizing students won’t learn everything Monday through Friday.
That is why the PUSH Excel program will begin its January 2023 after-school program at the PUSH headquarters for their Saturday and summer enrichment programs. The first after-school class will be Saturday, January 16, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. A full schedule will be given at the King Scholarship Breakfast.
Dr. Sonya Whitaker, National Education Policy Director for the PUSH Excel program, said,
“This year’s MLK Scholarship Breakfast will be a game changer. PUSH Excel seeks to raise consciousness around Dr. King’s ‘What is Your Life’s Blueprint’ speech. In an effort to support young adults in achieving the dreams spelled out in their blueprints, it is also during this event that they will receive monies in the form of scholarships to the universities or colleges of their choice.”
Whitaker said the event will also be a platform to inform educators, policymakers, and community members at the local, state and national levels about issues that directly or indirectly impact education “through the implementation of our content released during the organization’s Critical Thinking series, which is focused on shaping America’s educational agenda.”
To get tickets for this year’s MLK breakfast, visit www.rainbowpush.org, then go to Eventbrite.