A great leader deserves to be honored and remembered. Here's where you can find Martin Luther King Jr. events in and around the Fox Valley.
• "King and Mandela: Legacy of Peace," a tribute to late civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela, will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, at Aurora University's Crimi Auditorium, 407 S. Calumet Ave., Aurora. The public is invited. Admission is free but advance registration is required. Call (630) 844-4924 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register for more information.
The program will feature readings by Aurora University students and their reflections on the writings of King and Mandela. Music will be performed by the Aurora University Chorale. Lisa Fredenburgh, AU director of choral and vocal activities and chair, Music Department, will conduct.
• Civil Rights icon Julian Bond will be the special guest speaker at Aurora's annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20, in the West Aurora High School auditorium, 1201 W. New York St., Aurora. Enter door 18. Admission is free.
Hailed as one of the most prominent youth leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, Julian Bond was a young student at Morehouse College, Dr. King's alma mater, when he came under the tutelage of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
From helping to establish the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee at age 20 to being elected to the Georgia Legislature at age 25 to being appointed as chairman of the NAACP, Bond's 50-year career as a voice for equality and inclusion is filled with stories of hope and healing.
The annual celebration will feature the West Aurora High School Jazz Band, the East Aurora High School NJROTC, Waubonsie Valley High School's Mosaic Choir, the Illinois Math and Science Academy's Black African-American Student Association, the Aurora Inter Faith ecumenical group of faith leaders, and the Sign Singers of St. John AME Church. Residents who performed community service during the 2014 Day of Service will be recognized and students recommended by their schools to receive "Service above Self" Awards will be honored for their commitment to service in our community.
Jan. 20 also is a day for high school students to participate in Aurora's annual Day of Service. For details, call (630) 421-0600 or email email@example.com.
Plemon T. El-Amin, Imam Emeritus of the Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam, one of the largest and most progressive mosques in the United States is keynote speaker at the Fifth Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Interfaith Prayer Breakfast on Monday, Jan. 20. His topic will be "The Internationalism of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr."
The breakfast will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at D'Andrea Banquets, 4419 Route 14, Crystal Lake. The theme for this year's event is "My Dream for the World." The program will include a Call to Prayer and group prayer with participants from a variety of local faith traditions including Islamic, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, various Christian traditions and New Thought. There will also be the reading of a winning essay by a local middle school student on My Dream for the World, plus music and chants with Lia Nicine McCoo. The graduates of the latest Faith to Faith, Face to Face class and their projects will also be recognized.
Imam Plemon el-Amin serves on various religious and civic councils, including the Boards of the Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta, the Atlanta Majlis Ash Shura, the Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters, the World Pilgrims, and the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Department. As part of the World Pilgrims, he has led 10 Pilgrimages with more than 300 Christians, Jews and Muslims together through the religious and cultural landscapes of Turkey, Morocco, Spain, Jerusalem, Palestine, Greece and Jordan.
FaithBridge, a consortium of local faith communities, promotes cooperation and understanding among diverse religious groups in the NW collar counties. Tickets for this years MLK Breakfast can be purchased any of the following: First Congregational Church of Crystal Lake, the Blue Lotus Temple in Woodstock, the McHenry County Jewish Congregation in Ridgefield, the Ridgefield Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church, the Center for Spiritual Evolution in Cary, Bethany Luthern Church in Crystal Lake, the Department of Mission and Spiritual Care at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, and the American Muslim Community Organization in Algonquin. Tickets will also be available at the door.
The city of Elgin's Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast will be held from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at Elgin Community College's University and Business Center, Building E, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin. It features speaker Keyairra Calvin.
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.
Breakfast tickets are $15 for adults and $7.50 for children younger than 13, and are available at Elgin city hall, 150 Dexter Court.
The celebration is sponsored by the Elgin Human Relations Commission and the Martin Luther King Jr. planning committee.
A celebration of Dr. King's life will continue, with a public program at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, at the Hemmens, 45 Symphony Way. 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.
On Monday, Jan. 20, there will be a youth leadership conference from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Centre of Elgin, along with a Community Day of Service.
The celebration also includes the third annual food drive. For details, call (847) 551-7056 or visit www.cityofelgin.org/MLK.
Tickets are on sale for the 13th annual Dr. King Remembrance and Celebration Dinner Friday, Jan. 17, at the Northwest Chicago Marriott Hotel in Hoffman Estates. The event will honor the 85th birthday of King and his contributions. Also honored will be Daily Herald Publisher Doug Ray, for his more than 40 years of leadership in the suburban business community. More than 400 community and business leaders and residents are expected to attend. Tickets are $55; reserve them at (630) 771-1707 or email a request to firstname.lastname@example.org. They are also available at icdhr.com.