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MLK events around Chicagoland

Attorney Tom Todd to keynote Dr. King program

Tom Todd

Reverend Paul L. Jakes, Jr., pastor of the New Tabernacle of Faith Baptist Church, will host a special service commemorating the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Sunday, January 15, 2017.

“Dr. King was the conscience of America during one of the most turbulent times in this nation’s history” notes Jakes. The service will highlight memorable moments in his life and career as a civil rights advocate.

The commemorative service will be held from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Salvation Army Building, 825 N. Christiana Avenue.

Attorney Thomas N. Todd will be the keynote speaker at the program. Todd, an activist, author, and lecturer, is a dynamic and energetic speaker known throughout the Chicago area, and nationally. He was once president of the Chicago branch of the Southern Christian Leadership Council and president of Operation PUSH.

Dr. King, assassinated April 4, 1968 at the age of 39, would have been 88-years-old this January 15th.


 Honoring Dr. King and building the future

27th Annual PUSH Excel Scholarship Breakfast with Cardinal Blasé Cupich 

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich
Cardinal Blasé J. Cupich

Cardinal Blasé J. Cupich, leader of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s 2.3 million Catholics, and Dr. Juan Andrade, a nationally known advocate for human rights and the Latino community, will join Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. on Monday, January 16, 2017, at PUSH Excel’s 27th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Breakfast. The program will present dialogue about a present day response to the same issues of immigration, poverty and violence that Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement faced. Cardinal Cupich and Dr. Andrade will be among five prominent Chicagoans honored at the breakfast.

Dwyane Wade

PUSH Excel is the educational arm of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, founded and lead by Rev. Jackson. The breakfast, honoring the work and memory of Dr. King, will raise money for college scholarships for financially challenged students. Some 2,249 scholarships with a value of $5.5 million have been awarded since the inception of the event in 1990.

“The students the breakfast helps have everything they need to go to college – grades, persistence, hope – everything, except money,” says Rev. Dr. Janette C. Wilson, executive director of PUSH Excel.

Dr Juan Andrada
Dr. Juan Andrade

In the last 27 years, PUSH Excel’s annual King Breakfast has helped send students from across the country to colleges and universities such as Central State University, University of North Carolina, Western Michigan University, University of Pennsylvania and many more.

The breakfast also allows students and their families to gain a deeper understanding of the life and legacy of Dr. King, and is an opportunity for them to witness the talent and achievements of their peers.

Melody Spann Cooper e1484239450973
Melody Spann-Cooper

Such examples of the push for excellence and hope have never been needed more as Chicago and much of the rest of the nation celebrates Dr. King’s birthday against a backdrop of extreme social conditions that produce the educational problems that plague school communities across the country.

In his 1967 book, “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” Dr. King wrote, “The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of pov-


The King Breakfast is helping to assemble and prepare a non-violent army to do just that.


Ford Men of Courage on MLK Holiday


Ford Motor Company is pulling together African American leaders from across the United States to make this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day a day of action for advancing the narrative of Black men and creating positive social change.

The Men of Courage event honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. takes place Monday, January 16, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 1871, Technology & Entrepreneurship Center, suite 1212 of the Merchandise Mart.

“Men of Courage enables African American men to unite behind a common mission of being great family men, innovators and barrier breakers through storytelling, visioning sessions and action pacts,” said Shawn Wilson, manager, multicultural community development, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Dr. King often spoke about poverty as the root cause for many of our social ills. I’m excited to hear the solutions we develop in Chicago and around the U.S. that will benefit not just African American men — but all of our communities.”

Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, launched Men of Courage in Detroit in August 2015, aiming to connect diverse Black men from local communities with a growing list of advocates and celebrities working to create positive social change for African American men. Ford Fund has joined with Sean Anderson Foundation and Dave Bing Youth Institute to promote Men of Courage.


Congresswoman Robin Kelly to keynote MLK event in South Suburbs


Robin Kelly Web
Congresswoman Robin Kelly

The Thornton Township Human Relations Commission, in partnership with South Suburban College and Thornton Township High School District 205, will present a Martin Luther King Jr. celebration on Monday, January 16, at 10 a.m. at South Suburban College.

Titled Love and Unity Conquers Hatred and Violence, the free event commemorates the life and legacy of Dr. King and features speeches about coming together as a community.

“People should attend the MLK Celebration because it is the day that we recognize and honor one of the most dynamic African-American figures in American history,” said Loretta Wells, chair for the event and a member of the Thornton Township Human Relations Commission. “It is a day that we teach our youth about the contribution Dr. King made and his struggle for equality.

We should all remember that this is not a “Day Off” but a “Day On.”

The annual event takes place at the Kindig Performing Arts Center at South Suburban College, 15800 South State Street in South Holland, IL.

“Dr. King said ‘We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools,” said Frank M. Zuccarelli, Thornton Township supervisor and South Suburban College board chairman. “We have to trust each other, love each other and work together.”

The celebration features Keynote Speaker Congresswoman Robin Kelly and performances by students from District #205, including singers and steppers.

“The Annual MLK celebration is necessary because it is an important reminder of Dr. King’s life, dream, legacy, and the contribution of those that helped make his vision a reality,” added Wells. “This year’s theme “Love & Unity Conquers Hatred & Violence” was chosen because we want to remind everyone, especially our youth that Dr. King was able to overcome hatred by preaching love and unity.  We must strive in today’s society to return to that basic message.”




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