Athens, Ga. – Tickets for the 2012 MLK Freedom Breakfast, scheduled for Jan. 13 at 7:30 a.m. in the Grand Hall of the University of Georgia Tate Student Center, are still available. The keynote speaker for the event will be Billye Aaron, an advocate for higher education for African-American citizens and the wife of baseball legend Hank Aaron. The MLK Freedom Breakfast committee and the UGA School of Social Work will sponsor Aaron’s lecture.
More than 400 tickets have been sold to date. Tickets for the Freedom Breakfast are $18 per person and $144 for tables of eight. Tickets will be unavailable the day of the event. To order tickets, see http://diversity.uga.edu/index.php?/events/detail/2012_mlk_freedom_breakfast/.
Sponsored by the University of Georgia, Athens-Clarke County Unified Government and the Clarke County School District, the MLK Freedom Breakfast commemorates the life of Martin Luther King Jr.
After Aaron’s keynote address, recipients of the local President’s Fulfilling the Dream award will be announced. These awards highlight the work of local citizens who have made significant efforts to build bridges of unity and understanding as they strive to make King’s dream of equality and justice a reality.
Considered a trailblazer in many of her endeavors, Aaron made her debut on WSB television’s “Today in Georgia” in June 1968-becoming the first African-American woman in the southeast to co-host a daily, regularly scheduled talk show. In her broadcast role, she interviewed local, national and international celebrities and dignitaries. In 1975, Aaron transferred to WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee and hosted her own weekly talk show called “Billye.” Simultaneous to her media career, Aaron taught on the high school and college levels for 12 years before marrying Hank Aaron in 1973.
For 14 years, Aaron was one of the United Negro College Fund’s top fundraisers, retiring in 1994 as vice president of the southern region. Upon her retirement, she and her husband founded the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation, a philanthropic trust that provides funds to children ages 9 – 12 to help them in developing their special talents and dreams.
She has been a member of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Board (founded by Thurgood Marshall) for more than 25 years. For five consecutive years, Aaron served as chair of the NAACP leading fundraiser, the Freedom Fund Dinner.
Aaron’s commitment to higher education opportunities for African Americans continues to be evident through her service on the board of trustees of her alma mater, Texas College, and Morehouse College, where she serves as chair of the Educational Policy Committee. Aaron received honorary degrees from Texas College, Allen University and Spelman College. In addition, she and her husband are past recipients of the 2003 Martin Luther King Jr. “Salute to Greatness” Award.
“Mrs. Aaron has been a dynamic media personality and educator, and she has remained committed to academic excellence, philanthropic activities, community involvement and the betterment of children,” said Michelle Garfield Cook, interim associate provost in the Office of Institutional Diversity at UGA. “We are thrilled she will be with us.
“Tickets are going quickly, so we’re encouraging individuals and offices who wish to attend the breakfast to purchase their tickets and/or tables as soon as possible,” Cook said.