Special to the AmNews

The Black Agency Executives organization recently held its 38th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon. Aptly hosted by NBC4’s Pat Battle, the event at the Hilton New York in Midtown was well attended. The Honorable David Dinkins, New York’s first and so far only Black mayor, was the keynote speaker.

While reflecting on the legacy of King, Dinkins shared the following bit of wisdom: “It’s important to recognize that we do not stand alone when standing up. I have been fortunate to have received the support and encouragement of many good people throughout and beyond my life in public service. Not one of us managed to get to where we are without the help of those who came before us.

“We say that everybody stands on somebody’s shoulders, and by that, we generally mean people like Dr. King, Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks and my personal hero, the late Percy Ellis Sutton, who ran his 1977 mayoral campaign with such grace and dignity that no one laughed when I announced my candidacy for mayor of New York City in 1989.”

Vivian Manning Fox, the executive director of 1199 Funds, and Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and executive director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, were among the event’s award recipients for their tireless community work.

Co-founder and president/CEO of the Golden Krust Bakery & Grill, Lowell Hawthorne was also on hand to receive an award of recognition. The beloved Jamaican eatery, which is headquartered in the Bronx, has 120 locations in nine states across the country.

“I want to salute this organization for being transformational and impactful to the business community in so many ways,” said Hawthorne, who noted that Golden Krust products are available in the school and penal systems throughout New York.

BAE President Danielle Moss Lee shared her thoughts about the nature and importance of BAE’s work. “Our days start at the crack of dawn, fighting on the front lines everyday in City Hall, in Albany and everywhere else we are needed,” said Moss Lee. “We are also doing that while trying to raise resources, awareness and consciousness within a racialized philanthropic landscape that is multilayered and complex and not always reflective of people who look like us.”

The luncheon was a result of almost a year of preparation and help from sponsors such as Harlem Children’s Zone and Emblem Health.