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January 6, 2012

CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
(617) 704-6682


Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral gave the keynote address for the Roxbury YMCA’s 4th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Business Breakfast.

Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral recently delivered the keynote address for the Roxbury YMCA’s 4th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Business Breakfast.

Centered around a theme derived from the famous MLK quote, “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re all in the same boat now,” the YMCA’s breakfast fundraiser was emceed by legendary news personality and civil rights activist Sarah Ann Shaw, and featured musical performances by The Park School Inspirational Freedom Youth Choir and singer Marchelle Jaques–Yarde with musical accompaniment by Armon Robinson.

Speaking along with Sheriff Cabral were YMCA of Greater Boston President Kevin Washington, Roxbury YMCA representatives May Vaughn, Executive Director and Laura Dickerson, Board Chair; and lead sponsor Robert Lewis, Jr. of The Boston Foundation. The event also featured a testimonial to the power of the YMCA’s programming delivered by Dana Rogers, a man who shed 367 pounds working out at the facility from 2009 to the present day.

In her remarks as event emcee, Sarah Ann–Shaw reminded attendees that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “did more than ‘have a dream,’ and stand up for Black people,” stating, “I’m thankful that Dr. King had a dream and went to the mountaintop, but I’m also glad that he marched with sanitation workers, stood up for Vietnam War protesters, and launched the poor people’s campaign.”

Following a brief introduction by Shaw, Sheriff Cabral delivered a powerful speech recalling the many historical struggles faced by people of color and the need to honor those who fought for the right to vote as part of the vast and enduring legacy of Dr. King.

“If a single Black American believes that not voting makes as much of an impact as voting, then we may already be lost,” said Sheriff Cabral. “We become powerless the moment we perceive ourselves as such. If you are Black and you are eligible to vote, there is no argument for not voting. It’s our responsibility to ensure that people like Medgar Evers and Viola Liuzzo didn’t die in vain.”

Speaking about the continued effort to include “Black history” into the greater context of American history, Sheriff Cabral stated, "We were not immigrants, but we came as cargo. Our history is not Black history, it’s American history because we have been here from the beginning."

“As a country, we have moved from the apartheid of slavery to the trauma of Reconstruction and post–Reconstruction, to segregation and Jim Crow to the civil rights movement,” Sheriff Cabral continued. “It begs the question why we so resist the notion of embracing our differences, preferring instead to view them as a barrier to achieving common ground.”

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