Dec 15, 2021
News Release

Laura Coates to be keynote speaker at General Mills and UNCF’s 32nd annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast

Virtual event will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King, raise funds for UNCF Twin Cities.
2022 MLK Breakfast logo Fierce Urgency of Now

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota - The 2022 Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast will feature a keynote speech by St. Paul native, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Laura Coates, musical performance by community youth choir KNOWN MPLS, and the recognition of local community change makers. The virtual event will take place Monday, January 17, 2022 from 8:45 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. CST at

Organized in partnership by General Mills and UNCF (United Negro College Fund), this year’s event theme is “Fierce Urgency of Now.” Through this event, we create an imperative to live out Dr. King’s legacy today in our homes, our communities and our world.

“This important annual gathering aims to both motivate and inspire action to advance racial equity in our community,” said Mary Jane Melendez, chief sustainability and global impact officer at General Mills. “Together, we are determined to grow and change the path our city and our country have been on for far too long.”

In remembrance of Dr. King, who was a 1948 graduate of historically Black college Morehouse College, proceeds from the event will help deserving area students go to college through UNCF Twin Cities. Since the inception of the relationship, General Mills has provided more than $6.7 million in philanthropic support to advance the UNCF’s mission and impact.

“As we come together at this event, we reflect on the legacy and words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character, that is the goal of true education.’ We are grateful for General Mills’ generosity and steadfast commitment to support our HBCUs and help our students financially to go to and through college,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF.

Community Engagement Opportunities

The MLK Holiday Breakfast in Minneapolis continues to inspire change in the world and honor those individuals whose footprints uplift the community. Following the breakfast, members of the Twin Cities community can engage through a variety of learning and volunteer opportunities organized by Hands on Twin Cities. Learn more at

About Laura Coates

Laura Coates is a CNN Host and Senior Legal Analyst who specializes in the intersection of civil rights and criminal prosecution. A former federal prosecutor, Coates served as Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, as well as a Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, specializing in the enforcement of Voting Rights throughout the United States. She is the bestselling author of You Have the Right … A Constitutional Guide to Policing the Police and is the host of the daily eponymous show on SiriusXM, The Laura Coates Show. She is a graduate of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the University of Minnesota Law School.

Entertainment at the 2022 MLK Breakfast

Entertainment will be provided by community youth choir, KNOWN MPLS. Established in 2019 by premier Minneapolis vocalist Courtland Pickens, KNOWN MPLS is a youth music group that aims to be recognized, understood and validated. Pickens aspires to empower youth members to follow their dreams by teaching them first how to find their voice.  

For the second consecutive year, the event emcee will be H. Adam Harris. Harris is an actor, director, teaching artist and cultural equity consultant. He works at the intersection of theatre, education, social justice and community engagement.

Event History 

The annual holiday breakfast began when UNCF and General Mills joined together in 1991 to host a community celebration to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Past speakers include Dr. Bernice King, Ambassador Andrew Young, the Honorable Eric H. Holder, CNN’s Don Lemon, former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, actor David Oyelowo, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Rev. Joseph Lowery, the late Yolanda King, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, Marian Wright Edelman, Donna Brazile, Vernon Jordan and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

This event is made possible by General Mills, UNCF and Best Buy. Additional support has been generously provided by Target, Ecolab, Medtronic, Medtronic Foundation Communities Fund, Cargill, Sleep Number, Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx, Wells Fargo, Xcel Energy, North Memorial Health and BI Worldwide.


To purchase tickets for the virtual event or for more information, visit: All proceeds from ticket sales and sponsorships will be dedicated to UNCF Twin Cities student scholarships.

Complimentary Post-Event Viewing

The MLK Holiday Breakfast will be available for viewing free of charge to share with family and friends at beginning at 12 p.m. CST.

About General Mills

General Mills makes food the world loves. The company is guided by its Accelerate strategy to drive shareholder value by boldly building its brands, relentlessly innovating, unleashing its scale and being a force for good. Its portfolio of beloved brands includes household names such as Cheerios, Nature Valley, Blue Buffalo, Häagen-Dazs, Old El Paso, Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Annie’s, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills generated fiscal 2021 net sales of U.S. $18.1 billion. In addition, the company's share of non-consolidated joint venture net sales totaled U.S. $1.1 billion.

About UNCF

UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20% of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.


General Mills Corporate Communications
Mollie Wulff