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Award-winning journalist Charlene Hunter-Gault to speak at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday breakfast Jan. 21


Annual Event Features New Volunteer Component

Charlene Hunter-Gault, a journalist with more than 40 years of experience in television, radio and print, will highlight the legacy of Dr. King’s dream at the 18th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast on Monday, Jan. 21.

Hunter-Gault, the first black woman admitted to the University of Georgia and the first African-American reporter at the New Yorker, recently rejoined National Public Radio as a correspondent following six years as CNN’s bureau chief in Johannesburg, South Africa. For two decades, she worked for PBS, where she served as national correspondent for “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” and anchored the award-winning newsmagazine on human rights, “Rights and Wrongs.”

The Emmy award-winning journalist will share her journey in America and beyond with breakfast guests at the annual holiday celebration. The event – including musical performances from Melinda Doolittle of “American Idol” fame – will be broadcast live on Twin Cities Public Television beginning at 8 a.m.

With a theme of “Answering the Call,” the 2008 MLK Holiday Breakfast will feature a new community service component that will encourage the 2,000 breakfast guests as well as television viewers to fill out commitment cards pledging to volunteer in the community in the coming year. The effort, with support from Hands On Twin Cities, is expected to generate thousands of hours of volunteer service in the Twin Cities in 2008. Potential volunteers can learn more about service opportunities – ranging from mentoring a child to serving meals – at

Each year, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the General Mills Foundation host the annual MLK Jr. Holiday Breakfast, a Twin Cities tradition at the Minneapolis Convention Center that kicks off a day of metro-wide celebrations. The event honors Dr. King’s contributions to the civil rights movement, which not only transformed American laws and life, but also inspired worldwide human rights reforms.

Although tickets for the breakfast at the Minneapolis Convention Center are sold out, the St. Paul Area Council of Churches again this year will host five simultaneous events in St. Paul and Duluth, where guests can enjoy breakfast and watch the live broadcast together. These community breakfasts – held from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. – are free and open to the public, but reservations are required. Reservations are available online at the St. Paul Area Council of Churches Web site at or by phone at 651-789-3877.

The host of ceremonies for the 2008 breakfast will be Angela Davis, reporter for “WCCO This Morning.” Davis, a well-known Twin Cities journalist, has been on-air in the market for more than a decade. The breakfast also will feature Gregory Washington & Voices of Praise, as well as the annual Local Legends awards presentation.

This is the 18th year that General Mills and UNCF have collaborated on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast. Previous speakers have included U.S. Rep. John Lewis, Juan Williams, Vernon Jordan, Alex Haley, Cicely Tyson, Yolanda King, Andrew Young and Martin Luther King III. This year’s speaker, Hunter-Gault, replaces Tavis Smiley, who was unable to attend the event.

As the nation’s oldest and most successful minority higher education assistance organization, the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) mission is to provide financial support to its 39 member institutions and increase minority degree attainment by reducing financial barriers to college. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 25 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees.

The General Mills Foundation, celebrating more than 50 years of giving, is a champion for stronger communities. In fiscal 2007, General Mills awarded $82 million to communities across the country, representing more than 5 percent of company pretax profits that year. Of the total, the General Mills Foundation contributed more than $20 million in grants in the targeted areas of youth nutrition and fitness, social services, education, and arts and culture.

For More Information, Contact:

Ann Merrill
General Mills
763-764-4859, or

Donna Svendsen
General Mills


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