Annual MLK TOBA breakfast

Dr. Otis Moss Jr. encourages people to continue to make a difference.

JARED KLEINKOFF/STAFF

Dr. Otis Moss Jr. encourages people to continue to make a difference.

Jared Kleinkopf, Staff

  Tampa residents celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day by attending Tampa Organization for Black Affair’s [TOBA] 31st breakfast celebration.The “Day of Service” event, was focused on a commitment of cooperation and featured famous civil rights leader Dr. OtisMoss Jr. Moss. He is a famous reverend who delivered sermons at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio, for over three decades. Moss was a friend of Martin Luther King Jr., who he walked, talked, prayed, and marched within historical places like Selma, Alabama.

  The retired reverend began by asking the breakfast attendees to turn and smile to those around them. He then instructed the crowd to repeat after him. “Friend, my friend, in your time and in your space, by God’s grace, you can make a difference.”The reverend, along with the crowd, then repeated it by then replacing the phrase with “my time,” and “I can make a difference.”Finally, the last verse was repeated and he input “our time” and “we can make a difference,” and the crowd enjoyed the involvement and applauded.The message of unity was the morning’s key focus. Moss said “God is constantly trying to teach us how to say ‘we’. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about ‘we’ in his Nobel Peace Prize address.”

  The event also had a strong and uplifting message to the young people in attendance in the early morning. Moss said to“never allow the circumstances of the moment to write your life’s story.”He pointed to America’s prison system and labeled it as the prison industrial complex that is nothing different from slaves for profit.

  On the day meant to remember MLK Jr., many questioned what he would be doing today.

  Moss pointed to the future and said “The real question is what am I doing? MLK Jr. did what the lord asked him to do.”

  When asked what steps he would recommend young people take to promote unity, Moss said there are three things.“Preparation, take after Dr. King’s ability to think ahead with intelligence, seek excellence and get involved.”

  His favorite moment with Dr. King was when he spoke about remaining awake for the great revolution and seeing it started during his time.

  Moss spoke about how Dr. King wasn’t political but that when he was arrested for a simple traffic violation, he called both men running for president Nixon and Kennedy were the candidates, but it was Kennedy who acted.

  Kennedy not only answered his call, but he also set his brother in action to free King from jail.

  Also during the event, HCC’s President Ken Atwater received a prestigious award from TOBA. He was recognized for his service to the community. He has worked to promote children of color and to help them be involved in leadership roles and attain a college degree.“I am a prodigy of his [Dr. King’s] work,” Atwood said.

  “HCC student Savannah Vanholten said the main takeaway she had from the breakfast was “The importance of social-cultural unity within all Americans of all backgrounds.The impact was to never let anyone tell me I can’t.If my ancestors can do it then I can!”