Honoring his legacy: MLK Day events throughout the suburbs

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Monday, Jan. 16. Events throughout the suburbs will pay tribute to the life and legacy of the late civil rights leader, as well as offer service opportunities. Here's a sampling.

Monday, Jan. 16

FaithBridge MLK Interfaith Prayer Breakfast: 7:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16, at Holiday Inn Crystal Lake, 800 S. Route 31, Crystal Lake. Join a discussion exploring the relationship between health, wealth and social justice with keynote speaker Venoncia M. Bate-Ambrus, executive director of Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County. $25 for adults, $15 for kids.

Pamela Gibson of Elgin rejoices as the Destiny Church Praise Team sings at the 18th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Breakfast in Hoffman Estates in 2020. Daily Herald File Photo

Community Breakfast: 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16, at Hoffman Estates Village Hall, 1900 Hassell Road. The Cultural Awareness Commission invites the community to celebrate its 19th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast. Seating is very limited, and reservations are accepted on a first come, first-served basis until the event is full. Limit of four people per reservation. To reserve a spot, call Hallie Karle at (847) 781-2606.

College of DuPage MLK program: Virtually at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16. It will feature students, along with remarks from President Brian Caputo, members of the staff and faculty. Presented via the College's Facebook page, the video presentation includes a discussion panel on Dr. King featuring members of COD's Black Student Alliance. Free.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service: 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16, at First United Methodist Church of Arlington Heights, 1903 E. Euclid Ave., Arlington Heights. First United Methodist Church of Arlington Heights will be hosting a service day in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Anyone in the community is welcome to join. Day starts with a short worship service at 10 a.m. There will be a number of family-friendly projects from 10:15-11:30 a.m., including: making Linus Blankets, dog biscuits for a shelter, place mats for Meals on Wheels, donations bags with toiletries for Care for Real and more. You may also opt to serve at three other locations: Feed My Starving Children in Schaumburg from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. (ages 5 and up); Bernie's Book Bank in Lake Bluff from 1-3 p.m. (ages 5 and up); or Wings resale store in Arlington Heights (times to be determined). For information, contact Sharon Noha at; call (847) 255-5112; or

Annual Dr. King Freedom Ride: 10 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, at the Lawndale Christian Health Center, 3860 W. Ogden Ave., Chicago. Bike to the locations Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. engaged with in North Lawndale. Register at

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, at the Recreation Center of Highland Park, 1207 Park Avenue West, Highland Park. Features a keynote address on “Unity in the Community” by Gabrielle Cummings, president of Highland Park Hospital, and a dance performance by Deeply Rooted Dance Theater. Guests are invited to participate in a variety of service projects facilitated by local organizations, including making valentines for veterans, bookmarks, friendship pins, dignity bags for the homeless, thank you notes for first responders and more. Following the in-person event, there will be a drive-through donation event from 12:30-2 p.m.

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Annual Dreamers Breakfast: Virtually at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16. Join the Waukegan Township and guest speakers and local entertainers for a virtual program including entertainment and awards for local leaders. $25.

'Anyone Can Serve' luncheon: 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, at Peoples Community Church, 670 S. Lambert Road, Glen Ellyn. During the luncheon, panelists will discuss the importance of service and the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. It features: DuPage Health Coalition, Unity Partnership, Milton Township Mental Health Commission, DuPage Homeownership Center, One Community Glen Ellyn, DuPage County Board, and more. Register to attend via and be automatically included in giveaway drawings. For information, visit

Helping Hands Care Kit Assembly: 10:30 a.m. to noon Monday, Jan. 16, at the Elmhurst Public Library, 125 S. Prospect Ave., Elmhurst. Assist in putting together care kits for the Elmhurst Walk-in Assistance Network as part of MLK's Day of Service. Activities available for all ages. Registration required.

MLK Day of Service: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, at the Evanston Main Library, 1703 Orrington Ave., Evanston. Help create reusable sanitary pads for the Girls 4 Girls Ghana organization.

MLK Day Southside Stories: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, at Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave., Chicago. Activities include a Civic Orchestra of Chicago performance honoring the legacy of Florence Price, South Side Home Movie Project Screenings, South Side Stories Podcast oral story recording, Drawing the Southside with Mobi Coloring, and a talk and artmaking with curator Juarez Hawkins on Bill Walker. Free. RSVP for specific events.

MLK National Day of Service Project: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, at Indian Prairie Public Library, 401 Plainfield Road, Darien. Complete a project for National Day of Service. For all ages.

Walk for Warmth: 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16, at the First United Methodist Church, 516 Church St., Evanston. The two-mile Walk for Warmth brings volunteers together to walk a circuit of downtown Evanston churches, each of which serves as a host to the IAE Overnight Shelter. Walkers raise money through donations and sponsorships. Advance registration is encouraged.

A group rendition of "We Shall Overcome" marked the end of a previous Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. prayer breakfast at Elgin Community College. Daily Herald File Photo

MLK Symposium: 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, in Wheaton College's Billy Graham Hall, Room 105, Barrows Auditorium, 500 College Ave. in Wheaton. The Chaplains Office presents “Strength to Love MLK Jr. Symposium,” a lecture by the Rev. Theon Hill, a Wheaton College associate professor of communication. The symposium is in honor of Rev. King's Preaching Ministry. Church leaders and pastors will gather on the Wheaton campus to reflect on the theme “'Strength to Love' and the Kingdom Agenda” in response to Rev. King's message to the church to proclaim the gospel in difficult times. The symposium will feature reflections from King's book “Strength to Love,” a collection of sermons. Hill's research explores the relationship between rhetoric and social change related to race, culture and American politics. Specifically, he examines the role of radical rhetoric as a crucial form of civic engagement and public advocacy. Free and open to the public. For details, contact Angulus Wilson at (630) 752-5445 or

Service Project: 1-3 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, at the Glenview Public Library, 1930 Glenview Road, Glenview. Teens can spend a day off earning service hours and making no-sew fleece blankets for older adults. All finished blankets will be donated to The Citadel in Glenview. Registration required.

Celebration of MLK Day, featuring the Rev. Eddie Reeves: 1:30-3:15 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, at the Evanston Main Library, 1703 Orrington Ave., Evanston. Join in for crafts, short films based on children's books: “Martin's Big Words” shown at 1:30 and 2:15 p.m. and “March On!” shown at 1:45 and 2:30 p.m. At 3 p.m. there will be a re-enactment of a part of Rev. King's “I Have a Dream” speech performed by the Rev. Eddie Reeves.

MLK Family Project: 2-4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, at The Bridge Teen Center, 15555 S. 71st Court, Orland Park. Ages 10 and older are welcome to help sort, organize, clean and stock donated items. Sign up in advance.

Aurora MLK commemoration: 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, at East Aurora High School, 500 Tomcat Lane, Aurora. 38th annual event with the theme “Be a Drum Major for Justice, Equity, and Mentorship,” will feature youth performances, special awards, community announcements, and remarks from Star Jones. Jones is an attorney, former New York City homicide prosecutor, best-selling author, Emmy-nominated TV host, and the first Black person to have a court television show. She is an advocate for women's rights, equity, inclusion and youth mentoring. Sign up for the free ceremony at

Attorney and TV personality Star Jones will be the keynote speaker at Aurora's 38th annual Rev. Martin Luther King Ceremony on Monday, Jan 16. Courtesy of City of Aurora

Thursday, Jan. 19

Waubonsee MLK event: Virtually from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19. Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove's third annual Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. program will be presented on Zoom. It will feature a keynote by Teresa Nance, vice president for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as well as the chief diversity officer at Villanova University. Free. To join:


Help Stock Food Pantry Shelves: In honor of MLK Day of Service, AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP and HandsOn Suburban Chicago are asking individuals to participate in a Food and Essentials Drive. Food insecurity is on the rise and many food pantries in the area are seeing a major increase in the number of families they are serving. Can you help stock their shelves? To participate, visit, where you can click on the organization nearest you to see what items they need. Or, for assistance, call (847) 228-1006, ext. 103.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.