Mission Mississippi President Neddie Winters addressed a crowd of 1,000 Monday at Mississippi State’s 22nd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity Breakfast at The Mill at MSU Conference Center.
Mission Mississippi is an interdenominational campaign promoting reconciliation across races for the sake of better understanding the message of the gospel. Winters himself has 20 years of pastoral ministry experience, as well as 40 years of business management experience.
Decades after the Civil Rights Movement, Winters encouraged listeners to remember that the dream described by King is still available to them if they claim it.
“Although I did not always have a seat at the table for most of my life, I soon learned that you have to bring something with you once you get a seat at that table,” Winters said. “We have much to celebrate today. You are not closed out from the table. Nothing is keeping you out. I challenge you to celebrate Martin Luther King’s life, labor and legacy.To all of you here today, you still have the opportunity to have your dream. The privilege we have is to do what we want to do, and we can all still dream today."
MSU President Mark Keenum marked the day by pointing out his school is one of the most diverse in the Southeastern Conference and, aside from Jackson State, has more African-American students than any other in the state.
“We’re fortunate in this county, city and at this university to have great unity, great diversity and great cooperative leadership,” Keenum said. “I think this is what Dr. King envisioned. He understood the value of education and service, and together, we can work to inspire and uplift the next generation of the people of Mississippi.”
In addition to the breakfast and keynote address from Winters, MSU celebrated the day further by dispatching teams of student volunteers to several sites in the Starkville area surrounding the school.