By Randy Singleton
Community Affairs Correspondent
New Journal and Guide
The Urban League of Hampton Roads hosted its 33rd annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Leaders’ Breakfast on Monday (Jan. 16) at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. The event was sponsored by the City of Virginia Beach. Addie Wright Thomason was the keynote speaker.
Thomason is a native of Virginia’s Eastern Shore and former executive vice president of the Chicago Housing Authority. Thomason is currently the president and CEO of two non-profits, Second Act Communities and the Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation, that provide affordable housing to low-income families. Thomason is considered a driving force behind a movement to house every homeless child in America.
During her speech, Thomason said, “Martin Luther King had the ability to find ways to conflict the comfortable and to comfort the afflicted.” She also said, “It takes radical courage to face radical acts of hate.”
Thomason closed out her remarks by telling the audience that “creative people find themselves in situations today that require creative solutions.”
The Community Leaders’ breakfast, created to honor the legacy and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., recognizes and presents awards to those dedicated to community service, volunteerism, education, employment, health, and housing.
This year’s community leaders’ awardees included: Dr. Stacey Franklin-Jones, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Norfolk State; Richard V. Homan, MD, President and Provost at Eastern Virginia Medical School; Dr. Augustine Agho, Provost at Old Dominion University; and Lloyd B. Jackson, Sr. Business Development Manager, Virginia Beach Economic Development Urban League Board of Directors.