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posted: 1/12/2014 8:00 AM

Elgin's MLK celebration kicks off Saturday

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  • A group rendition of "We Shall Overcome" marked the end of last year's Martin Luther King Jr. prayer breakfast at Elgin Community College. This year's guest speaker is recent ECC graduate Keyairra Calvin.

       A group rendition of "We Shall Overcome" marked the end of last year's Martin Luther King Jr. prayer breakfast at Elgin Community College. This year's guest speaker is recent ECC graduate Keyairra Calvin.
    Elena Ferrarin | Staff Photographer

  • Zoe-Anna Wilson, 7, of Bolingbrook and her mother, Daisy Viyuoh, took part in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. prayer breakfast in 2012.

       Zoe-Anna Wilson, 7, of Bolingbrook and her mother, Daisy Viyuoh, took part in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. prayer breakfast in 2012.
    Laura stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • The Martin Luther King Community Choir performed in 2010 at the Hemmens Cultural Center in Elgin. The annual celebration is sponsored by the Elgin's Human Relations Commission.

       The Martin Luther King Community Choir performed in 2010 at the Hemmens Cultural Center in Elgin. The annual celebration is sponsored by the Elgin's Human Relations Commission.
    john starks | Staff Photographer

 
 

Elgin's 29th annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration starts this week and will have a special focus on youth.

Recent Elgin Community College graduate Keyairra Calvin will be the keynoter speaker at a kickoff prayer breakfast Saturday at the college, breakfast chairwoman Janice Hare said.

The three-day event includes a free community program Jan. 19 and a day of service for youth -- with an extra reward -- Jan. 20.

Calvin, who graduated in December, was the president of the student group United Students of All Cultures and the grand marshal for the city of Elgin's iFest summer festival in 2012, Hare said.

"She worked a lot in her community, her church and her school," Hare said. "We know that she'll be very successful in all her endeavors."

The younger generation now carries the torch of those who lived through King's times, Hare said.

"(The older generation) set an example for us as our leaders in the community," she said. " (The youth) say, 'Thank you for your help and thank you for doing what you do in the community. It has helped us to be better prepared for tomorrow.' "

The celebration is sponsored by the Elgin Human Relations Commission and the Martin Luther King Jr. planning committee.

A celebration of King's life takes place Jan. 19 at the Hemmens Cultural Center in Elgin.

The guest speaker will be Orlando Ceaser, CEO of Watch Wells Communications. Performances will include Elgin's Community Choir, The Youth Dancers of Elgin, a dramatic presentation of King's "I Have A Dream Speech," and more.

The committee will host the third annual community day of service Jan. 20, featuring students who completed a service project during the preceding week.

This year, the students will be rewarded with an afternoon of open gym at The Centre of Elgin, committee member Danise Habun said.

The celebration also includes the third annual food drive, committee member Joe Wars said.

"Last year we raised six tons of food, which is a lot, a lot of food," Wars said. "It's well needed, and we're going to try to outdo ourselves this year."

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