Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Eric Conway: Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast at the Morgan State University Student Center on Saturday, January 14, 2017

Dr. Eric Conway writes:

Hello All,

Many of you know that my brother, Michael Conway, a President at Starbucks, was the keynote speaker for this year's annual MLK Scholarship Breakfast presented by the Baltimore chapter of Morgan Alumni Association.  

Many were concerned about the forecast that promised a wintry mix precisely during this year's breakfast. As a result of the forecast, perhaps fifteen percent of the patrons did not attend, however, we still had a very good attendance. Ironically, the forecast never materialized, at least on Saturday in Baltimore.

The Morgan choir has been a part of this breakfast, since its inception thirty-two years ago.  Typically, the only issue for me is that school is not in session, and I will have not seen my choir since our Christmas concert last year.  I always have to go on faith that I will have a good group to sing.   In the past, the event was always held at Martins West.  Recently, the location of the event was changed to Morgan’s new Student Center, where Morgan alums appreciate another opportunity to return to their alma mater, and choir members are more likely to attend the breakfast.  

I anticipated this event much more this year, because my younger brother, Michael, was the keynote speaker. Many persons from the Conway family and home church of John Wesley United Methodist attended this year's breakfast to support Michael.  In fact, my mother was responsible for selling four tables of tickets at $60 per ticket!  

Beyond just leading the choir, I had one additional duty - to introduce my brother to the group.

Michael spoke very eloquently and in a manner that made one want to listen. Initially, he shared his journey to get to the position that he now enjoys (see his bio attached), but quickly turned the conversation to what could or should his impact be once in a position such as his. Could he make an impact in the world - contributing to make this country a better place?   He shared several inspiring videos about Starbucks Corporate philosophy and videos about programs in place by Starbucks to directly address the racial tensions in this country.  Yes, their main product is coffee, however, they are equally concerned with improving the human spirit - one cup of coffee at a time.  Michael connected his speech to the occasion of the day - MLK’s birthday.  His final video, from an impromptu speech by Robert F. Kennedy after King’s assassination was quite moving, which was as resonant today in 2017 as it was in 1968 - see link to this short moving speech:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCrx_u3825g  Everyone, left the event on a high, and truly in a position to reflect on this holiday weekend.

After the breakfast, we all took some photos.  Since, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc. fraternity, all members of the fraternity gathered for one photo in Dr. King’s memory.  Additionally, many members from the Conway side of the family gathered for a family photo. 

At the end of the day, Michael and I took our mother out to dinner, for what else, but a crab-cake dinner at Pappa’s Restaurant.  What a wonderful day!


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