Cosby speaks at local King celebration

January 21, 2008 8:42:37 PM PST
Comedian Bill Cosby inspired and entertained Chicago's leaders who gathered to honor the memory of Martin Luther King.The event was the annual scholarship breakfast held on the Martin Luther King holiday

Thousands celebrated Doctor King's legacy at the Rainbow Push annual scholarship breakfast. They celebrated his work and the work of others, and there was a challenge for those in the room and all those listening.

A celebratory tone opened the annual breakfast.

"I want to thank you all for remembering Martin Luther King, for dedicating your lives to his mission and vision. And I want you to know as governor of Illinois, I will continue to be inspired by him," said Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Local politicians were acknowledged for their service to the community as were those who are doing their part to fulfill Doctor King's dream.

"You've got to be an overcomer, and have to be a dream maker and odds buster," said Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rainbow PUSH.

Jackson fought for civil rights and was with Doctor King when he was assassinated. This year he brought a provocative speaker to challenge the audience.

Bill Cosby shared his concern about young African Americans who have children without having vision for those children.

"Who could predict babies having babies? The fact that people don't know how to parent, they didn't have the child with the intent of sending somebody higher," he said.

The comedian, actor and author has let loose in recent years about a segment of the society that he says isn't living the dream nor even dreaming the dream.

"You need parents to say that's where you need to go. You don't need to go to Northwestern, but you need to be in those books," said Cosby.

While there were lighter moments, Doctor Cosby challenged the audience to take charge of change.

As a shining example of change, present was Courtney Carson, Rainbow PUSH scholarship recipient and one of the young men expelled from a Decatur high school for fighting in 1999, is about to graduate college and go to seminary school.

The breakfast benefits the organization's scholarship fund. Reverend Jackson said he is trying to raise $800,000 more for scholarships this year. As part of the tradition to honor Doctor King, Rainbow Push also hosted a job fair Monday afternoon.