Who was the city's annual breakfast for—and what does it represent?

There is an irony so rich that it graduates to something palpable when you learn that two nonviolent protesters of police brutality were literally dragged out of this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Breakfast by police to the applause of attendees.

Let me begin with the smallest of bites, a morsel that cannot be debated. I offer a definition so that we may get to other, harder truths. Merriam-Webster defines “protest” in the following ways:

1: a solemn declaration of opinion and usually of dissent;
2: the act of objecting or a gesture of disapproval. Especially: a usually organized public demonstration of disapproval;
3: a complaint, objection, or display of unwillingness usually to an idea or a course of action;
4: an objection made to an official or a governing body of a sport.

Dissent. Objection. Disapproval. Display. Unwillingness. Outside of a sport, protest is disruptive by definition, an act designed to generate discomfort, and not generally meant to be convenient. So if you want a specific act of protest to mean something else – if you wish it to behave itself or be polite or to present itself in a way that allows you to continue doing what you were doing unabated – then you have an intent that’s different from an actual protest. You want something else to happen other than true protesting.

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