Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Woodruff probably are smiling down on Ingrid Saunders Jones, chairperson of The Coca-Cola Foundation, and her team as they executed a perfect event Saturday, April 30, at the annual EbenezerFEST celebration.
Young and old came out to celebrate with two of the world’s most iconic institutions: Coca-Cola and Ebenezer Baptist Church . They came together to celebrate their 125th birthdays. On a beautiful spring Saturday, these pillars of community were able to share with attendees that they have even more in common than just their birthdays. It was only appropriate that the majority of the festivities took place at the national Martin Luther King Center, located only minutes from his birth home. As with most “birthday parties,” there were games, prizes, dancing and free food as well as a host of information from community agencies and clothing for those in need.
As the attendees enjoyed a great lunch provided by two other local favorites — Chick-fil-A and Papa John’s Pizza — kids danced and played games like the hokey pokey and musical chairs.
Quinton Martin, Coca-Cola North America vice president of community marketing, stated, “as Coca-Cola celebrates its 125th anniversary, we believe that one of the best things that we can do is to celebrate with the people, partners and institutions that have been a huge part of our success over the last 125 years.” Martin continued, “Atlanta is our home, and it is very important that we give back and continue to partner with great institutions like Ebenezer Baptist Church.”
Ebenezer Baptist Church’s current pastor, Dr. Raphael Warnock, wasted no time empowering the attendees with knowledge that, in 1886, two births took place that changed the world. One was the formula for a soft drink, Coca-Cola, that has become the most recognizable brand in the world, and the other was a church deeply grounded in ensuring that all of mankind was treated with dignity and respect and had equal access to every opportunity that America offers. The foundation of community leadership and community service is rich in both of these great entities.
Everyone was aware of how these two great institutions have been, are and will be beaming examples of excellence in the community. Coca-Cola continues to support great community events like the Essence Music Festival, outstanding education programs for HBCUs, and the list goes on and on. Coca-Cola and Ebenezer Baptist Church are both a part of the American experience that continues to make all of us proud.