MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The 5,000 Role Models of Excellence program rolled out the red carpet Monday for its 26th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast.
King's service and lifestyle inspire much of for what the program stands.
"What he was able to do and structure for not only minorities but just a bigger group, it shows that we should move on his message even though he's not here," Oscar Aviles said.
Monday's annual fundraising event and celebration brought together members of South Florida's diverse community to commemorate the life and teachings of King and to demonstrate community-wide support of the mentoring program.
"He would've been celebrating his 90th birthday," Aviles said. "That's crazy to think. It's not that old, but it's sad that his life was taken away, but that doesn't mean that his mission still can't be moved on."
A total of 47 role models received scholarships Monday and attendees heard from several celebrities, including actor, film director and political activist Danny Glover, actress and philanthropist JoMarie Payton and film producer Will Packer.
"We have to be very much aware what the current narratives are, which dictate what we need to do," Glover said. "One of the things that we have to talk about in terms of justice, whether it's healthcare fraud or it's the environment. We don't talk enough about the environment."
U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., was also at Monday's event and said that she is very proud of the young men in the program and their determination to succeed.