(James Rojas/WBZ NewsRadio)
BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — An estimated 1,500 people attended the 50th Anniversary MLK Memorial Breakfast at the Boston Convention Center Monday, to look back on the late civil rights activist and talk about how his words are more important now than ever.
The memorial kicked off with live gospel music and an opening prayer, before Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Gov. Charlie Baker, Sen. Ed Markey, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley took the stage to discuss the current state of America, its politics, and policies.
Along with Dr. King's legacy, President Trump and his administration's policies were a focal point of the event.
"I am so tired of people saying that what is ruining this country is identity politics," Rep. Pressley said. "No it isn't. It is hate and white supremacy that is codified through legislation."
Pressley said the civil rights movement that Dr. King fought for is ongoing, and is under attack today.
"This federal government has created a category to further surveil and police black activists called 'Black Identity Extremism'—yes, I'm an extremist about loving my people," she said, referencing a controversial FBI designation the ACLU has called "baseless."
Pressley also talked about the struggle for economic justice.
"The March on Washington, which is so often evoked, was about economic justice and jobs," she said. "It was about the fight for dignified wages and dignified work. And so what is it going to take for us to realize, racial justice—for us to do some truth-telling about the fact that there is an absence of it, and that the federal government and lawmakers played a role in creating it?"
Gov. Baker spoke about the importance of activism.
"You gotta show up," he said. "If you don't show up, you don't hear from the people you need to hear from, you don't learn from them, and you don't have an opportunity to do and pursue policies that will help make their lives and their communities stronger and better."
Among those being recognized at the breakfast is 94-year-old Marvin Gilmore, who co-founded the first African-American owned and operated commercial bank in Boston.
Net proceeds from the event will go to local community programs and services.
WBZ NewsRadio's James Rojas (@JamesRojasWBZ) reports