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MLK breakfast leaders announced
11/11/2015 3:33:43 PM

Dorothy Harrison
The YWCA of Greater Charleston today announces Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. will serve his sixteenth year as Honorary Chairman for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Business and Professional Breakfast, set for January 19, 2016, at the Charleston Marriott Hotel.

Mayor Riley co-founded the event in 2000, along with then YWCA Executive Director Christine O. Jackson, first cousin to the late Coretta Scott King.

Co-sponsored by the City of Charleston and the YWCA, the breakfast is a signature event of the MLK Celebration, now in its 44th presentation year, and considered the state’s largest tribute to the slain civil rights leader. For details visit or call YWCA at 843-722-1644.

Dorothy Harrison, Chief Administrative Officer of Charleston Water System, Inc., will chair the breakfast planning committee.

“The MLK Breakfast symbolizes what America already knows, that the Lowcountry embraces Dr. King’s ideals of justice and respect for all humankind,” Riley said. “We are a community that triumphs over tragedy, and celebrates our diversity.”

Immediately upon his election as mayor in 1975, Mayor Riley assumed a leading role in the MLK Celebration, which today attracts 30,000 celebrants annually to its series of January events. “Much of the MLK Breakfast’s success is attributed to Mayor Riley’s leadership,” said YWCA Board President Kerri Forrest. “More than 600 top corporate, civic and clergy leaders attended the MLK Breakfast in 2015.”

Prior to joining Charleston Water System in 2001, Harrison spent 26 years in the banking industry where she was among the first African-American commercial loan officers and vice presidents in the state. “I am honored to work with Mayor Riley and the MLK Breakfast committee,” said Harrison. In serving her first year as committee chair, Harrison succeeds Cecelia Gordon Rodgers, Charleston Development Academy Charter School Director.

The January MLK Breakfast will also feature the second annual presentation of the Joseph P. Riley Jr. Vision Award. Established last year by the YWCA, the award cites a corporation, institution or individual for their corporate citizenship and outstanding community service. Last year’s Riley Award inaugural honorees were Dr. Mary Thornley, Trident Technical College President, and posthumously, Dr. Theodore S. Stern, College of Charleston President Emeritus.

For information about the MLK Business and Professional Breakfast contact the YWCA of Greater Charleston, at 843-722-1644 or visit

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