We are delighted to announce Denise Turner Roth, DC native and President Barack Obama appointee, as the keynote speaker for our 33rd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast! This “re-envisioned, re-engineered and re-energized” event continues to attract diverse audiences from the Washington, DC metropolitan area, honors the work of Dr. King and awards five deserving DC high school students with academic scholarships! This year we will also publicly recognize and thank UPO’s MLK Breakfast legacy sponsors!

denise-turner-roth-headshotIn 2015, Ms. Roth was selected to serve as the 21st Senate-confirmed Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).* Drawing on 18 years of public service, in this esteemed role she oversees nearly 9,000 government-occupied buildings and manages 12,000 employees in efforts to further GSA’s commitment to deliver the best value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services to government and the American people.

However, Ms. Roth’s relationship with UPO and the communities we serve goes much deeper.

Denise was raised by a single-mother in DC’s Ward 8 community, Anacostia. Her mom was a hard worker who cleaned floors and often looked for help to provide basic necessities for her family.* As economic conditions worsened in Wards 7 and 8, DC Mayor Marion Barry partnered with United Planning Organization to implement job training programs for residents in those communities and that gave her mother the break she needed! Through a UPO-sponsored program, Denise’s mother gained new skills that led to a position as a bank teller and ultimately to more senior bank positions!!

The opportunity to pursue a career with paths for advancement helped Denise and her mother achieve a higher level of economic security! As her mother performed well on the job, Denise excelled at school. The combination of their efforts and UPO’s support, allowed them to move to the next level up and opened the doors for Denise to pursue her academic dreams of higher education!

Over the years, Denise has excelled academically and professionally! To date, Denise has received an honorary doctorate from her alma mater George Mason University, worked for multiple members of Congress and has briefed the President Barack Obama on cybersecurity! Her mother’s commitment to provide a better life for she and her daughter coupled with Denise’s love for education, drive and passion to improve communities at-large has propelled her to reach higher and help others along the way!

Purchase your ticket today! We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, January 14, 2017 at the iconic Howard Theatre!!!