Rev. William D. Smart, Alice Goff and breakfast speaker Devon Franklin. (Ian Foxx photo)
Rev. William D. Smart, Alice Goff and breakfast speaker Devon Franklin. (Ian Foxx photo)

Celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California (SCLC-SC) hosted an interfaith prayer breakfast on Jan. 14 at Holman United Methodist Church in South Los Angeles.

“It’s highly important for us to do things like this because at the end of the day we are all God’s children. It’s better for us to think about the things that unite us and not divide us. There are a lot of issues that we face together as a global community and a Black community, so it’s very important to know that interfaith is all faith. We are all connected,” said Devon Franklin, the keynote speaker for the breakfast.

The prayer breakfast was a call to all religious communities to come together to discuss the issues that impact society and underserved communities. Hosted by ABC7’s Anabel Munoz, the event opened with Holman United praise singers led by Ashley Faatoalia and followed by prayers.

“We do this to bring together people of various backgrounds just like Dr. Martin Luther King did. He brought together everybody. So, this solidifies that the civil rights movement is for everybody. All religions believe in social justice and this is a call to action through prayer,” said Rev. William D. Smart, president of SCLC-SC.

In light of the constant news coverage of police brutality, unfair housing conditions and gun control, all of the breakfast attendees spoke about the issues that impact the undeserved communities. Faith leaders from the Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities went into prayer about the issues of gun violence, peace, tolerance of religious traditions, government officials, and unity among peoples.

“We need to rid ourselves of the culture of hierarchy and recognize that justice is better than order,” said Rabbi Dr. Aryhe Cohen from American Jewish University.

Sentiments such as Cohen’s consistently rang true in all of the faith based leaders messages. In conjunction to the mission of SCLC-SC, the breakfast strived to break barriers of inclusive mindsets about joining members from other faith-based communities to tackle issues that transcend racial and spiritual backgrounds.

Just as SCLC strives to stay engaged with the current issues that affect the community economically and socially–their efforts to raise awareness by crossing communities helps build bridges, according to Muslim Public Affairs Council representative Edina Lekovic. “Injustice is a plague that crosses all our communities. Our common faith is to do good and create change,” said Lekovic.

That is why it’s important for leaders like Franklin, who is the President and CEO of Franklin Entertainment, to use his personal and career position to create public change.

“Part of what I’m trying to do is get up every day and make a change. Being in Hollywood, I want to be an example through my work and make sure I’m doing everything I can to help those along the way,” said Franklin. “ In the quietness of our own doubt we cannot give up the things we are fighting for.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. established the SCLC in 1964 in Los Angeles with civil rights icon and USC Stalwart Dr. Thomas Kilgore Jr. and Douglas Dollarhide. The organization was founded to provide special civil and human rights commemorative programs to help the African American community.

“At the end of the day faith works and God is real,” said Franklin.

For more information on SCLC-SC visit their website