CHAMPAIGN — Area officials again are packing the month of January with events recognizing the contributions of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
One of the most popular events, the Champaign County celebration, is in its 11th year. The format will be generally the same, said Joan Walls, a Champaign deputy city manager and one of the event's organizers, but it will be "exciting" nonetheless.
The event will begin at 4 p.m. Friday at the Hilton Garden Inn, 1501 S. Neil St., C.,
"It's people being able to come together to celebrate what's happening in the community," Walls said.
This year's theme is "Striving for Genuine Brotherhood," a goal that the planning committee determined is relevant both locally and nationally. State Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, is billed as the keynote speaker.
"You try to look for speakers who have been very committed to what your theme is and the purpose, and the senator and the work that he's done, not only in his community but from throughout the state," made him a prime candidate, Walls said.
The event does not just honor the civil rights leader. Three community leaders are slated to receive awards for their community activism.
Donna Camp is the director of community services at Wesley United Methodist Church in Urbana. She oversees the Wesley Evening Food Pantry, which feeds more than 10,000 people every year, according to its website.
Camp will receive the James R. Burgess-Susan Freiberg Humanitarian Award, which honors people who have alleviated human suffering in the community.
Al Anderson, executive director of the Champaign Consortium, will receive the Doris Hoskins Prestigious Community Service Award, given to those who engage in volunteerism. Walls said Anderson has been involved in a number of volunteer programs throughout the community.
Carlos Donaldson will receive the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Outstanding Achievement Award, given to those who work for social justice "in the spirit of Dr. King," according to a press release.
All the awards are given to people who work toward "really improving the condition of the citizens who live throughout our community," Walls said.
A list of events:
Friday, Jan. 13
4 p.m. — 11th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Countywide Celebration at the Hilton Garden Inn, 1501 S. Neil St., C.
Sunday, Jan. 15
4 p.m. — MLK Scholarship Banquet at the Days Hotel, 77 N. Gilbert St., Danville. For ticket information, call the Danville Human Relations Department at 431-2280.
5 p.m. — Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. event, "A Service of Celebration," at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Goodwin Ave., U.
Monday, Jan. 16 (Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day)
8:30 a.m. — Unity Breakfast at The Vineyard Church, 1500 N Lincoln Ave., U.
10:30 a.m. — Annual Danville parade. Line-up starts at the corner of Main and Logan streets at 10 a.m.
11:30 a.m. — Celebration service, St. James United Methodist Church, 504 N. Vermilion St., Danville.
7 p.m. — Film and discussion on "The Other America," at The Art Theater, 126 W. Church St., C.
Thursday, Jan. 19
7 p.m. — Film and discussion on "Higher Learning," at Ikenberry Commons, Multipurpose Room 2025A, 301 E. Gregory Dr., C.
Friday, Jan. 20
2 p.m. — Screening of "Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin," at LGBT Resource Center, 323 Illini Union, 1401 W. Green St., U.
Saturday, Jan. 21
10 a.m. — MLK Writing Contest, presentation of winners at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Goodwin Ave., U.
Tuesday, Jan. 24
6 p.m. — Workshop I: "Getting it Wrong: 21st Century Oppression in the Workplace and Elsewhere." At University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright St., C. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP.
7 p.m. — Film and discussion on "The Other America," at Ikenberry Commons, 301 E. Gregory Dr., C.
Wednesday, Jan. 25
7 p.m. "I Have a Dream" student forum at Illini Union Courtyard Cafe, 1401 W. Green St., U.
Thursday, Jan. 26
6 p.m. — Workshop II: "Doing it Right(er): Challenging Oppression and Promoting Fairness in the 21st Century." At University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright St., C. Email email@example.com to RSVP.