Events honoring Martin Luther King Jr. in the suburbs

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Monday, Jan. 15. Upcoming events, celebrations and services will pay tribute to the civil rights leader.

Chris Blackshear will give the keynote address at the Hoffman Estates’ Cultural Awareness Commission’s 20th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast. Daily Herald File Photo

Jan. 10

  • Documentary, discussion at MCC: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 10, at McHenry County College’s Luecht Auditorium, B-170, 8900 Northwest Hwy., Crystal Lake. McHenry County Juneteenth Committee and McHenry County College present “Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” including a documentary and discussion. Pastor Dr. Norval Brown will be master of ceremonies. Free. Reserve a ticket at
The Rev. Charlie E. Dates will speak at the Alpha Phi Alpha Dr. Martin Luther King 25th Annual Holiday Memorial Brunch in Gurnee. Courtesy of Judson University

Jan. 13

  • Alpha Phi Alpha Dr. Martin Luther King 25th Annual Holiday Memorial Brunch: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, at the Gurnee Holiday Inn, 6161 W. Grand Ave., Gurnee. Take part in honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the 25th Annual Memorial Brunch, with guest speaker Dr. Charlie E. Dates, senior pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Chicago. $60. Buy tickets at

Jan. 15

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast: 8-10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 15, at Hoffman Estates village hall, 1900 Hassell Road, Hoffman Estates. The Cultural Awareness Commission’s 20th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The event will include a keynote address by Chris “Cheb” Blackshear, an accomplished speaker, actor, software test engineer and musician; as well as music from One Choir. Reservations will be accepted on a first come, first-served basis through 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 10, or until the event is full. To reserve your spot, call Hallie Karle at (847) 781-2606 or email
  • MLK Day Virtual Conversation: Virtually at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 15. In "Building Community with Justice of the Pies," Chef Maya-Camille Broussard, star of the Netflix series "Bake Squad," author and owner of Chicago bakery Justice of the Pies, will join United Way of Metro Chicago for a conversation celebrating her story and her success. Free.
  • Family Event – Martin Luther King Jr. Day: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15, at Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St., Chicago. Join to celebrate the enduring legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This family-friendly day features musical performances, interactive activities, community organizations and more. Event is included with admission to the museum, which is free for Illinois residents on this day.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service: 10 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15, at First United Methodist Church of Arlington Heights, 1903 E. Euclid Ave., Arlington Heights. Gather for a short worship service at 10 a.m. Following the service, participate in projects in the Fellowship Hall, such as making Linus Blankets, dog biscuits for a shelter, placemats for Meals on Wheels, sandwiches for The Night Ministry and more. Participants can serve at two other locations: Feed My Starving Children in Schaumburg from 4:30-6:15 p.m. or 7-8:45 p.m. (ages 5 and older); or Bernie's Book Bank in Lake Bluff from 1-3 p.m.
  • Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Annual Dreamers Breakfast: 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 15, at the Holiday Inn Convention Center, 6161 Grand Ave., Gurnee. Speakers and entertainment includes Pastor Stephen J. Thurston II, Glenn Johnson & Voices of Innerpeace, Windy Indie, The Chicago HBCU Alumni Choir, Shanale Mason, Elite Striders Drill Team and Drum Corps, and Minister Terry V. Atwater Sr. $50.
  • Helping Hands Care Kit Assembly: 10:30 a.m. to noon Monday, Jan. 15, at the Elmhurst Public Library, 125 S. Prospect Ave., Elmhurst. Assemble care kits for the Elmhurst Walk-in Assistance Network on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Registration required.
  • MLK Day of Service: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15, at Schaumburg Township District Library, 130 S. Roselle Road, Schaumburg. The Schaumburg Library is teaming up with the Township of Schaumburg for a volunteer opportunity for an MLK Day of Service. Assemble Care Kits for seniors in Schaumburg Township.
  • Walk for Warmth 2024: 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 15, from First United Methodist Church, 516 Church St., Evanston. Interfaith Action of Evanston, a consortium of diverse faith communities serving those experiencing homelessness and hunger, will hold its fifth annual Walk for Warmth on Martin Luther King Day. 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. Funds raised will enable IAE to keep its shelter doors open every night from mid-October to late May. Advance registration is encouraged.
  • Drop-in MLK National Day of Service Project: 11:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15, at the Indian Prairie Public Library, 401 Plainfield Road, Darien. Make fleece tie blankets for Camden's Comfort Project for the National Day of Service. Drop in to spend a few minutes or a few hours volunteering. Free.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium: 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15, in Wheaton College’s Billy Graham Hall, Room 105 Barrows Auditorium, 500 College Ave., Wheaton. Guest speaker is the Rev. Kevin Stafford, senior pastor of the Mt Calvary Baptist Church in San Diego. There will be a MLK community choir, spoken word artist and students, staff and faculty contributions. It is a tribute to Dr. King's visionary legacy of proclamation and witness, focusing on the profound impact of his preaching ministry. Free.
  • MLK Family Service Project: 2-4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15, at The Bridge Teen Center, 15555 71st Court, Orland Park. All family members age 10 and older are welcome to participate in a day of service and intentional conversations. Help sort, organize, clean and stock donated items for The Bridge Thrift Store. Free.
  • Aurora's 39th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Ceremony: 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15, at Calvary Church, 9S200 Route 59 in Naperville. The ceremony will be a reflection on the life and legacy of Dr. King with youth performances, community awards, and special guest speakers, 17-year-old Ph.D. graduate Dr. Dorothy Jean Tillman II, DBH and award-winning actor Tyler Lepley. Sign up via
  • Chicago Sinfonietta presents "PULSE": 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15, at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago. Join the Chicago Sinfonietta in their annual MLK Tribute Concert, "PULSE," as they pay homage to the enduring legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a lineup of works that celebrate the power of perseverance, triumph, and hope, including the Overture from "Treemonisha," Scott Joplin's classic opera reimagined for the orchestra by Gunther Schuller; Xavier Dubois Foley's "Victory" Concerto featuring double bassist Xavier Foley; and "Montgomery Variations" by Margaret Bonds conducted by Mei-Ann Chen. $25.
  • Story Jam Presents "Stories for Peace": 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15, at Space, 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston. Story Jam returns for its annual MLK Day show with a creative offering of true, personal stories and original music played by top Chicago musicians. $18-$26. or
  • Food drive: Elgin’s 11th annual Martin Luther King Food Drive aims to collect 50 tons of food for six area pantries. It will include a special tribute to Joe Wars, the longtime food drive chairman who died in December. Canned goods and household items can be dropped off at the Gail Borden Library, Elgin police and fire stations, city hall, the Elgin YWCA and most local churches. While food donations are appreciated, cash donations are preferred. Every dollar collected can purchase about 8 pounds of food. Donations can be made at

Jan. 17

Theodia Gillespie, president and CEO of Quad County Urban League Courtesy of Donnell Collins

“Hope & Harmony” brunch and program: 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, in the Waubonsee Community College student center cafe, Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive in Sugar Grove. Theodia Gillespie, president and CEO of the Quad County Urban League and director on Waubonsee’s Foundation board, will be the keynote speaker on equality and empowerment, followed by a Q&A. Immediately after the program, join the “Hope & Harmony” Brunch. This complimentary brunch offers a spread of dishes, set to the backdrop of live smooth, harmonious jazz music. Engage in meaningful conversations with guided discussion prompts that reflect on the day’s themes and Dr. King’s legacy. Sign up via

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