Community service, celebration mark MLK Day in Chicago

ByRavi Baichwal and Meghan Kluth via WLS logo
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
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Volunteers painted a mural at a youth center in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood on MLK Day.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Events across Chicago and the suburbs on Monday honored Dr. Martin Luther King and his legacy.

In Bronzeville, volunteers put together "blessing bags" for the homeless and painted a mural in youth community centers.

"We have the day off, but nobody really talks about why we have the day off. What we want is that sense of community because that does so much quell violence, to bring families closer together," Kelsey Taylor, organizer of the Bronzeville Day of Service.

This is the first year of the event, which also included cleaning an indoor playground and submitting letters to public officials, as well as cleaning up a classroom and library.

For the kids in the Bronzeville neighborhood, the day meant more than a day on the couch.

"Just that they are taking the time to come do this in the morning on a day off, it just means a lot," said Caleb Wilkerson, who helped to paint the mural on the wall of his youth community center.

Families also participated in the community service event.

"To me it's important for both boys to get a bit more of an understanding of King's legacy, so I thought this was a great way to do it," said father Keith Harrison, who brought two of his children.

The Chicago Sinfionetta performed a musical tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Symphony Center. ABC 7's Hosea Sanders introduced the orchestra.


Chance the Rapper spoke Monday afternoon to young men participating in Youth Guidance's Becoming a Man (BAM) program.

The mentoring program pairs at-risk youth with full-time professionals who teach them six core values, including integrity, accountability, self-determination, positive anger expression, goal-setting and respect for women.

"The love piece is very valuable because a lot of these young men are missing that link of manhood love. Manhood love that is not coming from the street," said Jack Solomon, a BAM senior counselor.

Chance was among a group of speakers participating in an event celebrating King's legacy at Frederick Douglass Academy High School.

The Grammy Award-winning artist and social activist spoke for about 20 minutes.

"There are so many different things that we are just disenfranchised and not lucky enough to have so social cues, business relationships so many different things we cut off from so being able to be part of this organization helps a lot of people gain that," Chance said.