Dr. Chandra Gill teaches ABCs at Thornton Township MLK Day celebration

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by Ernst Lamothe

SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. (January 26, 2020) – With the theme “Awakening to Greatness,” and a call for leadership to begin, Thornton Township hosted its annual Martin Luther King event. Taking place at South Suburban College Kindig Performing Arts Center and sponsored by the Thornton Township Human Relations Commission, the event gathered more than 500 people to hear the uplifting words of powerful speakers and performances by School District #205 students.

“Love everyone, don’t hate, fairness, nonviolence, and equality were a few morals and principles Dr. King implemented in his lifetime,” said Linda Wyley, of Chicago, who attended the event. “He set a great example for the young people. MLK was just a great role model.”

This event was a great way to bring several people from many different backgrounds together in one place, including special appearances from District 205 and 150 band and mixed choir, Jada Johnson, Dyimond Moore, Zion Hurndon, Kayode Adebogun, and keynote speaker Dr. Chandra Gill.

Dr. Chandra Gill, CEO of “Blackademically Speaking,” was keynote speaker at the MLK Day event. (Photo provided)

Keynote speaker Dr. Chandra Gill, CEO of “Blackademically Speaking,” went through several themes during her speech that touched personal moments for everyone who attended. She preached, educated, and shared some life stories. Some of the wise words from her included, “You are not going to give a beggar $50 because they asked for it, so America isn’t going to give you freedom because you asked for it. You have to fight for it.”

Dr. Gill made that message clear and she said it is as easy as ABC: “A is for attitude. I need you to stop apologizing for those who can’t see our greatness. Don’t lose your greatness for people who don’t understand your greatness. Lose those who don’t get your greatness.

“B is for behavior. Your behavior has to be in alignment with your character. Dignity and integrity still matter.

“C is for ‘Champions break Chains.’ I need us to know and understand we left the plantation, but the plantation ain’t left us. Break the chains of fear and failure.”

Dr. King was an African American Christian minister and activist who led the Civil Rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. Some know him from his “I Have A Dream” speech; however Dr. King was more than just one speech. He risked his life daily to lead, fight, and speak for a large sum of the American population. He championed people being treated equally and having basic human rights. Dr. King led the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the March on Washington, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act. He was one of America’s most selfless leaders in American history. Martin Luther King Day celebrates and remembers all that King accomplished in his short 39 years of life.

Dr. King once said, “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.” With all Dr. King did for his people, he stood tall by this sentiment.

Thornton Township expressed thanks to everyone who helped with the event and everyone who attended. More information about Thornton Township events is available on the Thornton Township Facebook page.