*“The time has come for an all-out world war against poverty. The rich nations must use their vast resources of wealth to develop the underdeveloped, school the unschooled, and feed the unfed.
Ultimately, a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have concern for ‘the least of these,’” sermonized Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on December 11, 1964.
On January 17, 2013, the Black Agency Executives (BAE) honored the memory and words of Dr. King during its 36th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon at the Hilton Hotel in New York City themed “Advancing the Dream of Economic Equality.”
Over 350 professionals and community leaders from the non-profit, corporate and faith-based communities attended the popular MLK event that also celebrated BAE’s 23rd Annual Founders’ Awards. WNBC-TV anchor David Ushery served as Master of Ceremonies with comedian Chuck Nice co-hosting. Kudos to chairperson Carla D. Brown, co-chairperson Maria C. Willis and Bobby Watts; and event producer/fundraising consultant Theresa O’Neal, Bee Season Consulting.
The luncheon – which is recognized as one of the premier networking events of the season and known for its powerful keynote speakers — proudly honored one of the most prominent business industry leaders in the nation and two stellar organization: Maurice Coleman, Turner Construction Company and STRIVE.
After a wonderful invocation by Rev. Dr. Gary V. Simpson, the Renaissance Steel Chamber Ensemble who also entertained guests during the reception performed the Black National Anthem followed by greetings from BAE’s president Darwin M. Davis and luncheon chair Carla D. Brown.
Davis encouraged attendees to keep the spirit of Dr. King’s dream alive by supporting the agencies that care for those in need. With President Obama’s inauguration and second term top of mind, each speaker spoke passionately about the past, present and future challenges faced by each organization but all the need for personal responsibility and deliberate action.
Keynote speaker was Gary L. Flowers, executive director & CEO of the Black Leadership Forum, Inc., an alliance of national African American civil rights and service organizations in the United States of America, founded in 1977. Based in Washington, DC, the Black Leadership Forum links leaders of national Black organizations together, forming a coordinated leadership model on legislation affecting African Americans.
Honoree Maurice Coleman is a senior vice president and senior client manager for the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Commercial Real Estate Group focused on Community Development Banking (CDB). CDB specializes in providing debt and tax credit equity to finance affordable housing, charter schools as well as commercial and retail development nationally. Prior to this position, Coleman served as the New York market manager and senior CRA compliance officer overseeing the Bank’s OCC regulatory compliance initiatives as it related CRA lending, investing and community service activity and corporate governance.