Naperville event helps 'stay the course on nonviolence'

  • Naomi Ruth Barber King, a civil rights activist and sister-in-law of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., signed a copy of her book for Naperville police Chief Bob Marshall during an event sponsored by the Unity Partnership at Pfeiffer Hall on the campus of North Central College.

      Naomi Ruth Barber King, a civil rights activist and sister-in-law of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., signed a copy of her book for Naperville police Chief Bob Marshall during an event sponsored by the Unity Partnership at Pfeiffer Hall on the campus of North Central College. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Unity Partnership Founder Regina Brent says the group has been working for two years to bridge gaps between police departments and the African American community across DuPage County.

      Unity Partnership Founder Regina Brent says the group has been working for two years to bridge gaps between police departments and the African American community across DuPage County. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Dr. Kasthuri Henry, left, speaks about the atrocities her family endured in Sri Lanka during a nonviolence event sponsored by the Unity Partnership at North Central College's Pfeiffer Hall.

      Dr. Kasthuri Henry, left, speaks about the atrocities her family endured in Sri Lanka during a nonviolence event sponsored by the Unity Partnership at North Central College's Pfeiffer Hall. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Naomi Ruth Barber King, a civil rights activist and sister-in-law of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., joins Babs Onabanjo, president and CEO of the AD King Foundation, as they listen to music by the Inspirational Choir & Voices of Tomorrow from the DuPage AME Church.

      Naomi Ruth Barber King, a civil rights activist and sister-in-law of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., joins Babs Onabanjo, president and CEO of the AD King Foundation, as they listen to music by the Inspirational Choir & Voices of Tomorrow from the DuPage AME Church. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Naomi Ruth Barber King, a civil rights activist and sister-in-law of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., poses with Georgia Stenson of Lombard, left, who marched with Dr. King in Chicago.

      Naomi Ruth Barber King, a civil rights activist and sister-in-law of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., poses with Georgia Stenson of Lombard, left, who marched with Dr. King in Chicago. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/13/2018 9:59 AM

Advocates for better police-community relations got the chance Thursday to hear for the second time this year from the sister-in-law of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. about the storied civil rights leader's nonviolent ways.

Naomi Ruth Barber King spoke at Pfeiffer Hall on the campus of North Central College, the same Naperville location where King himself addressed a crowd in 1960.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

She presented for a group of police, community leaders and students of various ages who were gathered by Unity Partnership, which has been working for two years to bridge gaps between police departments and African American communities across DuPage. She also signed copies of her 2014 book, "AD and ML King: Two Brothers who Dared to Dream."

Her appearance followed a keynote address she gave in January, also before a Unity Partnership gathering of roughly 80 police chiefs and others in Naperville.

Regina Brent, president and founder of Unity Partnership, said the group brought Barber King back to commemorate the 50th anniversary of her brother-in-law's assassination and to "stay the course on nonviolence."

Organizers also included an implicit bias workshop hosted by Adrienne Coleman, director of equity and inclusion at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora.

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"We feel like everyone has biases, no matter who we are," Brent said. "It is important to help us to define that and acknowledge that, first and foremost. Secondly, once we can identify the biases that we have as a human being, we have the power as a human being to control it."

Fred Greenwood, vice president of Unity Partnership, said events such as Thursday's help residents and police officers understand each other and help young people gain context on the civil rights progress of the past.

"We don't want to go backward," Greenwood said. "We want to continue living in a society where everyone can benefit."

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