Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.: A list of suburban events

  • Martin Luther King Jr. will be honored at events, services and programs throughout the suburbs.

    Martin Luther King Jr. will be honored at events, services and programs throughout the suburbs. Flip Schulke/CORBIS

Updated 1/17/2019 2:15 PM

The following events will pay tribute to the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.:

Benedictine University's four-day celebration:


Lisle's Benedictine University is sponsoring a four-day weekend of events, starting with a "Networking Night: People To People" from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19. On Saturday, members of the university community and the staff of the campus ministry will serve meals and beautify Hope House as part of a Day of Service. A Red Cross Shelter training course also will be offered from 1 to 5 p.m. in the university's Krasa Presentation Room. On Sunday, Jan. 20, history professor Vincent R. Gaddis will speak on "A Revolution In Values" from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in St. Benedict Chapel in Kindlon Hall. The BSU Choir will perform with other guest singers and musicians. The "Day of Education" on Monday features "Everyone Has A Story to Tell" from 1 to 3 p.m. in Kindlon Hall on the fifth floor. Eight Benedictine students will tell their personal stories of encounters with racism and the impact on their lives and how they view the world. Then audience members will get a chance to tell their personal stories and receive information on the upcoming roundtable discussion groups on racism. To register, visit www.ben.edu.

Elgin prayer breakfast:

From 8:30 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, in the Elgin Community College University and Business Conference Center, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin. The city of Elgin's Human Relations Commission will host the 34th annual Dr. King Prayer Breakfast, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Wes Scott, the president and CEO of Global EHSS Leadership Solutions and the board chairman of the Youth Leadership Academy in Elgin. The theme for the prayer breakfast is "Justice Before Comfort." The message will be reflected through prayer, the presentation of Dr. King Humanitarian Awards to individuals and organizations, music and more. Tickets are $15 each, available at the city hall finance counter, 150 Dexter Court. For information, visit www.cityofelgin.org or find the event on Facebook.

Tribute Concert:

At 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, at Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville. North Central College will host a Martin Luther King Jr. tribute concert with the Chicago Sinfonietta, featuring several guest artists, including musicians Kyle Dickson and Kenneth Woods and guest conductors Kedrick Armstrong and Kellen Gray. A portion of the concert also will pair the Chicago Sinfonietta with Waubonsie Valley High School's 140-voice Mosaic Choir. The program will feature Beethoven's "Egmont Overture," Hailstork's "Epitaph for a Man Who Dreamed," Weston's "The People Could Fly," and Coleridge-Taylor's "Petite Suite de Concert." The choir also will sing five Negro spirituals from Tippet's "A Child of Our Time." Tickets are $49 and $62 and available at finearts.northcentralcollege.edu.

Agape Connection:

At 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, at the Cathedral of Grace St. John Church, 2950 Bilter Road, Aurora. Agape Connection, a nonprofit organization, will host its 18th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Day celebration, featuring the MLK Character Award honorees, African American high school junior and senior boys with high moral character, volunteerism, leadership and visionary potential. Also featured will be the Oratorical Finalists, high school students reflecting on leadership and what it means to empower those who are disenfranchised. Open to the public. Tickets are $75 for an afternoon buffet beginning at 12:30 p.m., or free for the program only, which begins at 1:30 p.m. For tickets, call (630) 898-5333.

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20th annual celebration:

At 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, at Wheaton Christian Center, 610 E. North Ave., Carol Stream. Celebration sponsored by the Outreach Community Center in Carol Stream, the Village of Carol Stream, Our Savior Lutheran Church and the Wheaton Christian Center. The evening will include performances by the Wheaton Christian Center Choir and Outreach Community Center's Children's Choir. The celebration will be preceded at 6 p.m. by a community discussion about King's legacy led by Restore: Carol Stream Peacemakers. Sheila Caldwell, Wheaton College's first chief intercultural engagement officer, will deliver the keynote speech. The theme this year is the love of community. Free. Visit www.outreachcommunityministries.org.

Interfaith prayer breakfast:

From 7:30-9:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21, at D'Andrea's Banquet Hall in Crystal Lake. The ninth annual Martin Luther King Jr. FaithBridge Interfaith Prayer Breakfast will feature speaker Dr. Robert C. Henderson, member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States. Held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day every January, this event brings together people of all faiths to commemorate the achievements of King and to celebrate a belief in the unity of the human race and the sacredness of creation. The winner of the essay contest for all sixth- to eighth-graders in McHenry and Lake counties will be announced. The winner will be awarded $50 and two tickets to the FaithBridge breakfast. The winner also will read their essay as part of the breakfast program, which includes a vegetarian buffet. Tickets are $20, or $10 for students. Purchase tickets at www.faithbridgeinterfaith.org. A post-breakfast program from 10 a.m. to noon, organized with Continuing the Conversation, will include the documentary "An American Story: Race Amity and The Other Tradition," followed by a discussion with co-producer Craig Rothman. Free; donations accepted.

Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast:

From 8-10:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21, Hoffman Estates Village Hall, 1900 Hassell Road, Hoffman Estates. The Cultural Awareness Commission hosts its 17th annual breakfast in the Ed and Mary Hennessy Room. New this year, there will be a documentary titled "I AM MLK" at 7:30 a.m. This year's theme is "Service." Keynote address will be given by Traci D. Ellis, an attorney, human resources professional, and diversity and inclusion champion. Ellis, an activist and author, engages audiences to think more deeply on social justice issues relating to poverty, racism, criminal justice and educational equity. Entertainment will include "Strolling Down MLK Street" by Michael and Vikki Myers from Kingdom Impact Theater Ministries, and a musical performance from Our Saviour's Lutheran Church. Seating is limited; call Sue at (847) 781-2606.

Martin Luther King Jr. Dreamers' Breakfast:

At 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21, Lakehurst Banquets, 300 Lakehurst Road, Waukegan. The annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dreamers' Breakfast will feature local entertainment, a Chicago African dance performance, speakers, recognition of local dreamers, and a breakfast catered by Catered Productions featuring salmon croquette and grits. $30 per ticket; tables can purchased. Purchase tickets at www.waukegantownship.com; at the Administrative Office, 149 S. Genesee St.; or Park Place, 414 S. Lewis Ave. For information, call (847) 244-9242 or email lpable@waukegantownship.com.


Service at Judson:

At 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21 at Herrick Chapel, Judson University, 1151 N. State St., Elgin. The Second Baptist Church of Elgin will continue a rich tradition on Jan. 21 when choir members join the Rev. Dr. Nathaniel Edmond in leading worship during the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration. For more than a dozen years, the Second Baptist choir and musicians have gathered at Judson University, along with the Rev. Nathaniel Edmond, for a program of worship and introspection. Free. www.judsonu.edu.

Highland Park's Martin Luther King Day of Service:

From 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Recreation Center of Highland Park, 1207 Park Avenue West, Highland Park. Includes approximately 30 hands-on service projects. Lynn Epps will present a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; The North Shore Chapter of Jack and Jill of America will perform "Living His Dream," featuring children ages 2-11; Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White will recount the history of the Tumbling Team and share how it relates to King, followed by a performance by the Jesse White Tumblers. Volunteers will be collecting donations for a variety of causes, including toiletries (hotel sized); nonperishable food items; winter coats, hats, scarves and gloves; instruments; new stuffed animals; and bicycles in any condition. Drop off donated items to the event between 10 a.m. and noon. To volunteer, contact Marietta Stevens at info@volunteerpoolhp.org. For information, contact Terry Grossberg at trpltung@gmail.com or (847) 204-4815, or Laura Frey, at lfrey@cityhpil.com or (847) 926-1860, or visit www.cityhpil.com/MLK.

Youth Leadership Conference:

At noon Monday, Jan. 21, at the Ed Schock Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way, Elgin. Elgin Area School District U-46 students will participate in the eighth annual Dr. King youth leadership conference. Scholarships will be awarded to six students. Jeron Shelton, an inspirational speaker, will serve as the keynote speaker for the Youth Leadership Conference.

Collection drive:

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, at Leaning Tower YMCA, 6300 W. Touhy Ave., Niles. Cradles to Crayons Chicago is hosting a pop-up collection drive for new and gently-used clothing items for children living in low-income situations in the Chicago area. Warm clothing, coats and snow boots are the most needed items. Call (312) 558-1770 or visit www.cradlestocrayons.org.

Giving Back on MLK Day:

From 1-2:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, Vernon Area Public Library, 300 Olde Half Day Road, Lincolnshire. Learn how the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation makes a positive difference, then make a scarf to donate to a veteran. Materials and instructions provided. For students in kindergarten up with an adult. Register at www.vapld.info, (224) 543-1486, or in person at the library.

Martin Luther King program:

From 2-4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, Des Plaines History Center, 781 Pearson St., Des Plaines. All children ages 5-12 and their families are invited to attend a special "School Day Off" activity. The History Center's Interpretive Curator Emma Marston will host a lesson and craft related to the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Following the craft, storyteller Gwen Hilary and musician Enoch Williamson will honor the spirit, life and legacy of Dr. King through a fusion of music and narrative. It will be an event full of song and interactive participation. Additionally, this program will feature stories of children who have been inspired to change the world through thoughtful acts of compassion and kindness. Sponsored by the Des Plaines VFW Post 2992. Free. Visit www.dpparks.org/event/martin-luther-king-program/.

Lake Forest College Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration Event:

At 4:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, Lily Reid Holt Memorial Chapel, Lake Forest College, 555 N. Sheridan Road, Lake Forest. Celebrate the iconic leader of social justice and change with song and ceremony. Presented by the Lake Forest College Office of Intercultural Relations. For information, call (847) 735-5105. To register, visit www.lakeforest.edu.

"Living The Dream Celebration":

At 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, at Gary United Methodist Church, 224 N. Main St. in downtown Wheaton. The Rev. Harold Middlebrook, a friend of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and a figure in the civil rights movement, will be the keynote speaker at this 29th annual observance. They welcome people of all races, faiths, traditions, ethnic backgrounds and economic classes to celebrate King's life and legacy. Middlebrook, ordained as a minister in 1966, served on the strategy committee of the Community on the Move for Equality. The evening will feature music from Wheaton's Second Baptist Church, and the Praise and Dance Troupe from Chicago's Mt. Bethel M.B. Church. For details, call (630) 260-0190 or visit dupagemlk.org.

"The Foot Soldiers' Journey and MLK":

From 6 to 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, at the Aurora Public Library District's Santori Library, 101 S. River St., Aurora. Speaker Thomas Armstrong will offer a reminder on one's potential and responsibility as individuals to promote social justice and serve as an inspirational voice in the modern fight against racism. Armstrong, a Freedom Rider during the early 1960s civil rights movement, was born in rural Mississippi and attended Tougaloo College, where he became involved in organizing active movements toward social justice. In 2011 he published "Autobiography of a Freedom Rider: My Life as a Foot Soldier for Civil Rights." Free. aurora.libnet.info/events.

Annual MLK Jr. Day Movie Night:

At 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, Arlington Heights Memorial Library, 500 N Dunton Ave., Arlington Heights. Join for a free showing of "Get Out," Jordan Peele's thriller that explores race in America. Free; register at lwvah.org.

Aurora commemoration:

At 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 21, at East Aurora High School, 500 Tomcat Lane, Aurora. The city of Aurora and the Aurora MLK Planning Committee will host the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration -- A Day of Service, A Day of Hope. Teddy Matthews, senior pastor of Empowerment Church, will deliver a special message about the importance of service to the community. The ceremony will also feature performances by students from East Aurora, Metea Valley, Waubonsie Valley, and West Aurora High Schools, and the Illinois Math and Science Academy with inspiring contributions from the Cathedral of Grace St. John Church's Sign Singers. Aurora residents will be honored with the Donna J. Williams Service Award for their participation in the MLK Day of Service and local student-leaders will receive Mayor Richard Irvin's Service Above Self Awards for their year-round efforts to give back to the community. Free. www.aurora-il.org/mlk.

Aurora Day of Service:

All day Monday, Jan. 21. The city of Aurora and the Aurora MLK Committee present "Day of Service. Day of Hope." Sign to serve at Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry, Aurora Public Library Eola Branch, Aurora Public Library Santori Branch, Aurora Public Library West Branch, Elmwood Terrace Rehabilitation Center, Greenman Elementary School, Hesed House, SciTech Hands-on Museum, Sunnymere Senior Housing and Symphony of Orchard Valley. After participating, volunteers will be recognized at the commemoration ceremony at 6 p.m. at East Aurora High School. Sign up at www.aurora-il.org/1899/MLK-Day

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:

From 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, Prospect Heights Public Library, 12 N. Elm St., Prospect Heights. Join for this special celebration of Dr. King's life with lecturer Tim Wilsey. Learn about the struggles Dr. King faced on a day-to-day basis, the uphill battle against the federal government and his accomplishments that changed civil rights. Register at www.phpl.info.

Socratic Cafes:

Wednesday and Friday, Jan. 23 and 25. Tied to the celebrations of Dr. King, two U-46 middle schools are hosting "Socratic Cafes" where students will discuss how to apply Dr. King's values and vision to contemporary social and political issues. It is a collaborative, intellectual dialogue facilitated with open-ended questions about a text and/or topic. The basis for discussions will be a quote from King's sermon "On Being a Good Neighbor" and related to the "Justice Before Comfort" theme: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." Members of the Windy City Bulls, the NBA G affiliate of the Chicago Bulls, plan to attend several of the Socratic cafes. The Socratic Cafes will be at Abbott Middle School on Wednesday, Jan. 23, with four sessions from 9 to 9:45 a.m., 9:49 to 10:34 a.m., 11:27 a.m. to 12:12 p.m., and 12:16 to 1:01 p.m.; and at Kimball Middle School on Friday, Jan. 25, with four sessions from 9 to 9:45 a.m., 11:27 a.m. to 12:12 p.m., 1:05 to 1:50 p.m., 1:54 to 2:39 p.m.

Program at MCC:

From noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, in Room B 166/167 at McHenry County College, 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake. Terri McLaughlin will lead a program on Martin Luther King Jr., his life, his journey and his legacy. Free. For details, call (815) 479-7749 or visit www.mchenry.edu.

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