A virtual gathering. Due to the pandemic the 2021 Watertown Unity Breakfast (UB21), on January 18, was a virtual gathering created in a partnership with WCA-TV. Over 800 people -- twice the normal in-person attendance of 400 -- viewed the event.
The entire program was pre-recorded, and is available for on-demand viewing.
UB21 included traditional parts of past programs ...
Honorary Host Michael Bobbitt, Artistic Director of the New Rep Theater
Keynote Speaker Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, advocate for ecological & social justice
Essay contest winners from the Middle School and High School
Unity Award presentation to Rhode Moise, Program Director, Watertown Boys & Girls Club
UB21 also included something new - story sharing, with members of the Watertown community (youth and adults) sharing their personal experiences of bias and discrimination.
Call to action. The program ended with a "call to action" for all UB21 participants, referencing a special Unity Breakfast "Action Resource Guide"
Banner parade. A group of students and residents created banners with quotes from civil rights leaders. These banners were mounted on trucks and cars for a banner parade throughout Watertown in the afternoon after the program.
Honorary Host, Michael Bobbitt
Artistic Director, New Repertory Theater
Keynote Speaker, Rev. Mariama White-Hammond
Founding Pastor, New Roots AME Church
Coordinating Committee Member, Sarah Pardo,
Welcoming and Gathering
Watertown Unity Breakfast
January 20, 2020
25 Bigelow Avenue
For 20 years the Unity Breakfast has been a Watertown tradition bringing together residents, youth, community organizations and businesses representing Watertown’s diverse population to remember Dr. Martin Luther King ... and to re-commit ourselves to ending prejudice, racism, and economic injustice.
The 2020 Unity Breakfast was the 20th annual celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. it was the largest Unity Breakfast ever -- with over 400 residents, youth, public servants, and businesses in attendance. Highlights included:
Honorary Host, Watertown Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Dede Galdston
Keynote Speaker, Jonathan Lewis, a senior organizer and trainer in Kingian nonviolent principles and methods of conflict resolution.
Winners of Middle and High School Essay Contests sharing their personal understandings of Dr. King’s life and message
Music and entertainment by Reggie Harris, a nationally recognized singer, song writer, and story teller; Watertown High School Watertones; and the Boys and Girls Club Hip Hop Dance Team
The Annual Unity Award presented to six high school students for developing a new curriculum based on Dr. King's principles of nonviolence and restorative circles
Delicious and hearty breakfast catered by the Watertown Deluxe Diner
20th Anniversary video (WCATV)
Sketch Notes by Watertown Artist Sheri Kennedy
2019 Unity Breakfast
January 21, 2019
The 2019 Unity Breakfast was another inspiring and thought-provoking program that celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King’s life and legacy, challenging the 380 participants to re-commit to racial, social and economic justice.
Highlights of the 2019 Unity Breakfast included:
Honorary Host, Officer Tony Physic of the Watertown Police Department, who convened this year’s event and served as its master of ceremonies.
Keynote Speaker, Rahsaan Hall, Director of the Racial Justice Program for the ACLU of Massachusetts. Mr. Hall challenged the notion that racism no longer exists in American society, and challenged participates to "interrogate the notion of success and progress". He described how racial disparities continue to exist and are reinforced by systemic denial of opportunities.
Winners of Middle and High School Essay Contests who shared their personal understandings of Dr. King’s life and message. In addition, Watertown Middle School students shared an anti-racism "public service announcement" (PSA) video that they had created.
Slideshow of the new MLK public mural ("The Time is Always Right") on the wall facing the Boys & Girls Club basketball court.
Music and entertainment by "A Besere Velt", a chorale group from Brookline, and the Hip Hop Legacy Dance Team from the Watertown Boys and Girls Club.
The Annual Unity Award presented to Mark Harris, retiring minister of the First Parish of Watertown, also a founding member and organizer of World in Watertown and the Unity Breakfast..
Delicious and hearty breakfast catered by the Watertown Deluxe Diner.
The 2019 Unity Breakfast received extensive press coverage from WCATV, Watertown News, and the Watertown Tab. In addition, Watertown artist Sheri Kennedy prepared a set of colorful "sketch notes" for the event.
Critical funding for the Unity Breakfast is provided by Watertown Savings Bank, Tufts Health Plan, Watertown Community Foundation, and other community businesses. We are grateful for their support -- only 50% of the event costs are covered through participant admission fees.
2019 Keynote Speaker Rahsaan Hall, Director of the Racial Justice Program, Mass ACLU
Sketch notes by Watertown Artist, Sheri Kennedy (click to start):
2018 Unity Breakfast
January 18, 2018
The 2018 Unity Breakfast was, once again, an energetic, inspiring, and thought-provoking program celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Over 400 participants attended the event, at the Hellenic Center, which began with a hearty breakfast served up by the Watertown Deluxe Diner.
Highlights of this year's Unity Breakfast included:
Honoraray Host, Darshna Varia, Co-President of the Watertown Community Foundation
Keynote Speaker, Dr. William "Smitty" Smith, the founding Executive Director of the National Center for Race Amity at Wheelock College.
Music by two groups who have been enthusiastically received at previous Unity Breakfasts: the Greater Boston Intergenerational Chorus, a diverse community chorus based in Watertown; and the Watertones, a Watertown high school acappella group.
The annual Unity Award presented to a person or organization demonstrating outstanding community service in the previous year. This year's awardee is Renee Gaudette, Executive Director of the Watertown Boys' and Girls' Club.
Winners of Middle and High School essay contests who shared their personal understandings of Dr. King’s life and message.
Middle School students participating in the Kingian Nonviolence Project, who shared artistic works interpreting Dr. King’s principles through murals and rap lyrics.
Local press coverage:
Something new this year ... colorful and creative "sketch notes"created by local artist Sheri Kennedy. These visual notes integrate text and illustrations to capture the ideas, energy, and spirit of the 2018 Unity Breakfast.
Sheri Kennedy, www.fusionarythinking.com