by Ernst Lamothe
SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. (February 1, 2019) – More than 450 people attended Thornton Township’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. The program, themed “Unleashing the Power of Peace,” took place at South Suburban College on Monday, January 21.
“To me Dr. Martin Luther King will always be this courageous icon who fought against inequality and led the nonviolent struggle that transformed this nation,” said Loretta Wells, MLK event chairperson. We must remember to keep Dr. King’s legacy alive by continuing to bring awareness of his contributions to our young people and reminding our adults that the struggle is not over. Dr. King Day should not be a day off but a day of service and acknowledgment of his significant contributions.”
The event featured the Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School Jazz Band (Harvey SD #152); the District #205 Honor Band and Honor Choir, and keynote speaker Reverend Dr. Ozzie E. Smith, Jr.
Frank M. Zuccarelli, Thornton Township Supervisor, believes it is as important as ever to celebrate the great works, wisdom, and diligence of King.
“Martin Luther King Jr. was a shining example to all of us on how we should act in the face of adversity. We plan to not only celebrate the man, but celebrate his message,” said Zuccarelli.
Joyce M. Washington, Thornton Township Trustee and Chairperson of the Thornton Township Human Relations Commission, said, “Martin Luther King was a courageous man and leader; he will live in our hearts forever.”
Annette Whittington, District #205 board of education, gave a stirring rendition of Maya Angelo’s poem ‘I Rise,’ accompanied by a praise dancer.
“MLK had a great spirit and a great soul for humanity,” she said. “He was a sparkle to our land, bringing wisdom and hope in a gentle giant way. Even through there was danger all around him, he dared to dream. He faced death courageously,” she said.
Alderman Joseph Whittington Jr, 2nd Ward, City of Harvey, agreed: “Many a day I think about MLK’s sacrifice for my freedom as an African American. He is my true hero in many ways.”
Whittington added, “When he writes he expresses my feelings, and when he speaks he shares my thoughts. He understood the importance of voting and the power of the vote. As an elected official, I feel it is my sworn duty to uphold the constitution that he fought for. A belief in political, social, and economic equality for all mankind was his dream.”