Cinnaire Celebrates MLK Day with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Mid-Michigan

Cinnaire was proud to join our partners from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Mid-Michigan to host the 39th Annual MLK Day of Celebration at the Lansing Center. The event, one of the largest and longest running celebrations in the country, featured keynote speaker Ruby Bridges, a civil rights advocate, along with gospel icon Donnie McClurkin and the talented Mr. Wintley Phipps. Cinnaire CEO Mark McDaniel served as Honorary Chairperson for the event.

Bridges, a prominent civil rights advocate, author, and speaker, gained widespread recognition for her remarkable feat as a fearless six-year-old. She made history in 1960 by becoming the first African American child to integrate an all-white school in the South, playing a pivotal role in the subsequent desegregation of public education. Amid angry protestors and a vicious mob, Bridges was escorted by U.S. Marshalls on November 14th, 1960, as she walked into the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana. The historical moment has since been captured in the Normal Rockwell Painting The Problem We All Live With as well as captured in the 1998 Disney production, Ruby Bridges, and The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles.

“It is an honor to introduce a living legend, a civil rights icon whose impact has shaped the course of our history,” said Mark McDaniel, Cinnaire President and CEO. “Ms. Bridges resilience and dedication to justice inspires us all. At Cinnaire, we are committed to labor and love based in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, and the enduring teachings of our history. We are grateful to Ms. Bridges for joining us today to share her experiences, wisdom, and energy. Her words today will serve as a source of inspiration in the pursuit for racial equality.”

More than 1,500 people attended the event to celebrate and honor the life and legacy of Dr. King, including Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, Lansing Mayor Andy Schor, and East Lansing Mayor George Brookover. Cinnaire is proud to serve as a monumental partner of the commission, a nonprofit organization committed to fostering equality, justice, and unity.

Mark S. McDaniel and James Butler Legacy Scholarships

Cinnaire donates $50,000 annually to support the Mark S McDaniel and James Butler College Scholarship program. The competitive program is designed to inspire and empower students from all backgrounds to achieve higher education. Contestants write an essay reflecting the theme of the celebration. The theme this year is attributed to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall: “The measure of a country’s greatness is its ability to retain compassion in times of crisis.” Since inception the scholarship program has provided more than $300,000 to youth scholarships through this event.

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