Annual MLK breakfast draws 130
MLK day was the coldest day of the year so far. Despite bitter temperatures, approximately 130 people bounced along icy roads in grumbling cars for something of an annual tradition.
It’s the annual Martin Luther King breakfast at the stately Cathedral Church of the Nativity. Civil rights leader Esther Lee usually leads these things, but she was actually in the kitchen, cooking up free breakfasts.
Cordelia Miller, Bethlehem NAACP VP, introduced guest speakers who included United States Senator Pat Toomey, State Representative Steve Samuelson, Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez, Bethlehem Police Chief Mark DiLuzio and Bethlehem School District Superintendent Dr. Joseph Roy Bethlehem City Council members Willie Reynolds, Olga Negron and Michael Colon attended. So did NorCo Council person Tara Zrinski. In addition to these speakers, there was also an all-female panel discussion because. As Esther Lee remarked, “It is high time we listen to what women have to say.”
Senator Toomey agreed that people “should be judged on the basis of character, not color.” He commended Dr.King, whose actions were “always nonviolent.” Mayor Donchez stressed the role several African American women played in the civil rights movement, saying it “would not have been as successful had they not been involved.” These persons spoke as though the battle for equality has already been won.
Dr. Roy had a completely different view. In his view, racial disparity still exists in public school funding. He noted that the state legislature adopted a fair funding formula three years ago, but is unwilling to follow its own guidelines
“If a fair funding formula were implemented, Allentown School District would receive $80 million more and Bethlehem $20 million more,” he remarked. So would every school district in the Lehigh Valley, even affluent Parkland and East Penn
These school districts would see a deficit turn into a surplus and the need for a tax hike would be eliminated.
Dr. Roy also had an interesting obseravtion about the public school - “It’s the one place where everyone comes together.”