January 15, 2015

U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black, the 1st African-American elected to the position, will be delivering the keynote speech commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The YMCA of Central Florida and the Southwest Orlando Jaycees will honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., during the 24th Annual Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Prayer Breakfast in commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 at the First Baptist Church of Orlando at 7:45 a.m.

More than 1,000 civic leaders, pastors, and elected officials, including Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Jacobs, are expected to attend this event, honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy, Orlando’s first African-American elected official.

U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black, a retired two-star Navy admiral, will be the guest speaker at this year’s event commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Right Act of 1965, a civil rights law fueled by peaceful protests for voting rights, led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. outside of Selma, Alabama in March 1965.

“Like Dr. King, Chaplain Black is committed to uniting communities, strengthening families and improving education for our youth. These are all principles at the core of our Y mission,” said Dan Wilcox, President & CEO of the YMCA of Central Florida.

Chaplain Black was elected the 62nd Chaplain of the United States Senate in 2003. In addition to opening the Senate each day in prayer, Black provides spiritual support to more than six thousand people, which includes members of the Senate, their families and their staff. Prior to the Senate, Black served for 27 years in the U.S. Navy, where he also served as Chief of Navy Chaplains.

“The need for a strong sense of community is at an all-time high in the Central Florida area and all over the world,” said Wilcox. “For more than 20 years, this prayer breakfast has united thousands of local residents for one cause –uplifting our community.”

During the event, the Southwest Orlando Jaycees and the YMCA of Central Florida will present the 2015 Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award to Rev. Randolph Bracy Jr. Bracy founded the New Covenant Baptist Church of Orlando in 1992. A tireless champion for human and civil rights, Bracy is involved in local faith and community efforts, and he is also a past president of the Orange County chapter of the NAACP.

Past recipients of the Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award include Mable Butler, former Orange County Commissioner, Corrine Brown, U.S. Representative, Harris Rosen, a philanthropist and founder of Rosen Hotels and Judge Belvin Perry.

Musical entertainment during the breakfast will be provided by NBC’s “The Voice” finalist and local resident Sisaundra Lewis.

Proceeds from the event support the Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Scholarship Fund for Promising Teens, which has awarded more than $50,000 in educational funds to 45 young people since 1999.

The event is nearly sold out. For tickets, please email [email protected] or call 407.896.9220.

About the YMCA of Central Florida
The YMCA of Central Florida is one of the area’s largest nonprofits committed to strengthening the local communities it serves. It is a diverse organization of men, women and children joined by a shared commitment to Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. Each day 35,000 Central Florida residents are impacted by the Y when a mentor inspires a child, individuals make healthy choices and a community comes together for common good. In 2014, this YMCA Association of over 1,800 full time employees across 6 Florida counties impacted over 235,000 residents and invested, during a challenging economy, $10.2 million in its local communities. It also provided $9.2 million in financial assistance to children and families that resulted in lasting personal and social change.
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