The program was held on the Cleveland State Community College Campus Saturday.
Harris said individuals must be the change that they want to see.
Harris, corporate diversity officer for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, said people must stand up to the challenge of bringing positive change.
“Dream the change. Lead the change. Be the change.” was the theme for the annual breakfast this year.
In today’s world, things are always changing.
“I can’t help but believe some of the changes that have taken place would be greater than even Dr. King had imagined,” Harris said.
The election of an African-American as president of the United States was one example he gave.
Many of the things King addressed in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech have now become a reality, according to Harris.
“Young children of all races don’t just sit side by side in a classroom, they’re lifelong friends,” Harris said.
In the United States today, the division between generations is more prevalent than division between races, according to Harris.
Harris said the older generation has a responsibility to encourage the younger generation not to be afraid of rapid change, and to make good decisions no matter what.
“We have to move from memorializing the dream, to ultimately the dream has to be realized; but more than that it has to be personalized,” Harris said.
He noted everyone needs to have dreams they are striving to accomplish.
Harris said young people need to be encouraged that negative views from others do not need to become their reality.
Harris said young people also need to be encouraged to do what is right. The same skills a person uses to organize a gang are the same basic skills needed to organize a business, he said.
According to Harris, one way to honor King’s memory is by following his example of having a driving desire and commitment to helping others.
Based on King’s dream, Harris said, “We have a moral obligation to love and help others. ”
The breakfast also featured the musical talent of the Cleveland State Vocal Rhapsody and violinist Roger Lantigua. The Rhapsody features students, faculty and former staff of Cleveland State Community College. Lantigua is the 11-year-old son of one of the group’s members.
Originally scheduled for January, the community breakfast had to be postponed because of snow. Harris said having the breakfast during black history month provided the opportunity to look at King’s legacy and life, but also look forward to what can be accomplished in the future.