Jan 16, 2012 • By

A convicting call to action

“We know that we are gathering here this morning because we know that change is possible and it is in your hands,” Naomi Tutu said today, as she inspired and motivated those who gathered for the 22nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast in Minneapolis.

There were an estimated 2,000 people with me in the ballroom of the Minneapolis Convention Center to hear Tutu this morning. It is always an amazing sight for me when I look out over a sea of so many people, from all walks of life, all in one place. It’s a can’t-miss event each year in the Twin Cities to mark the holiday.

The annual breakfast is sponsored by the General Mills Foundation and UNCF, A committee of more than 30 volunteers – primarily General Mills employees – plans and hosts the event each year.

Both reflective and convicting, Tutu’s message for the crowd – in-person and watching on television or online – took aim at the work it will take to make Dr. King’s dream a reality.

“As we look around this room this morning, we know that 50 years ago a gathering such as this was simply a dream. And yet here we are today, so we know that we as human beings have it in us to move us forward. We know that we have the capability to dream and work for a better world,” Tutu said.

Tutu said the “promised land” King spoke of remains a goal, when you consider the global challenges around education, the safety of children, or a safe water supply.

“We live in a world where what we in the developed world use to buy ice cream each year could ensure clean water for every single human being on this planet. And the fact that we have not done so means we are far from the promised land.”

Tutu, the daughter of South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, has worked in human rights, women’s rights, and economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2011, she became an ambassador for Join My Village, the online initiative sponsored by General Mills and Merck that seeks to empower women and girls in the developing world.

In remarks to reporters before her speech, Tutu said people around the world connect to Dr. King because his life and work represents the search for economic, political and social justice everywhere. In this video clip from her media briefing, Tutu said there are old and new challenges in freedom and democracy – both within the U.S. and the world – that require attention and hard work to resolve.

Editor’s note: We have more information about the 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast on General Mills.com.