Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Minnie's Food Pantry all in one
"It's all right to talk about streets flowing with milk and honey, but God has commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here and His children who can't eat three square meals a day." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Hey Souljers! Happy Hump Day! In case you're suffering from those mid-week woes, allow me to shine a little bit of light.
Last night, Oprah Winfrey was the keynote speaker at the 10th Annual #FeedJustOne Gala for Minnie's Food Pantry, a Dallas-based nonprofit organization that provides healthy meals and free food assistance to families in need. Minnie's Food Pantry is led by the namesake's daughter, Cheryl "Action" Jackson, who is also my fellow OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network Ambassador. Hosted by Entertainment Tonight's Kevin Frazier, last night's gala raised an astounding $1.3 Million. Oprah kicked off the fundraising of the night by personally donating $250k to Minnie's. She then called the room higher and asked that they match her donation. One by one, the likes of Emmitt and Pat Smith, Pastors Joel and Victoria Osteen, Tasha Cobbs-Leonard, Roma Downey, Mark Burnett and many others lined up to announce themselves and their donation amounts. But it wasn't just high-profile supporters in attendance like Floyd Mayweather, there was a $3,000 donation by a woman who had been previously helped by Minnie's Food Pantry and a college student who donated $5,000 as well. It's no secret to say that love (and The Oprah Effect) is like Kodak, the gift that keeps on giving.
I've always said I don't believe in coincidences and I truly believe this was a magical night for Cheryl and the entire Minnie's team. Would you believe that Cheryl has been asking Oprah to come and give the keynote speech for the past few years but every time O has declined? After years of asking, Cheryl's persistence finally paid off. Oprah said yes. And followed through. This is an example of what the power of intention, persistence and consistency will do for you. If you do not give up and if you truly believe you can have what you desire.
It's also no coincidence that last night marked the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's speech, "I've Been to the Mountaintop". The opening quote above was taken from this speech to sanitation workers about economic development. As he was acknowledging the preachers that were attending the rally, he simply motioned to them the need to move from talk to action. It's sad to say that the next day, after that speech, he was murdered. That day is today. 50 years ago.
In honor of Dr. King, Ms. Winfrey and the Minnie of Minnie's Food Pantry (the late Pastor Minnie Hawthorne Ewing), I'd like to leave a few links to a few community service based organizations below. The links to donate below are to local organizations that are doing real work in the world to make it a better place. And they need our support. Many of you know I experienced homelessness while living in Los Angeles and so all of these organizations are dear to my heart. But in the spirit of Spring, in the spirit of Dr. King and in the spirit of Love, let's take heed to some of the final words of Dr. King at that rally in 1968:
"Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge, to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation."
I love you for being you. And I mean that.