'Dr. King's dream is in our hands': City leaders promote focus on children's future at annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Breakfast

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other city leaders gathered Friday morning to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr..

The city's annual Interfaith Breakfast recognizes people working toward King's mission of peace, human rights and economic empowerment.

Lightfoot used the opportunity to challenge business and community leaders to do more to continue King's legacy.

"Dr. King's question, 'Where Do We Go From Here?' came amidst the backdrop of progress but also bitter frustrations and disappointments, both in and outside the Civil Rights Movement itself, including here in the city of Chicago," said Mayor Lightfoot. "Today, Dr. King's work for justice and equality continues in Chicago. His example reminds us that we have a responsibility to rebuild communities that have been left out and left behind for generations, and the power to expand equity and inclusion on the South and West Sides."

Marian Wright Edelman, the founder of the Children's Defense Fund, was this year's keynote speaker. She was an attorney for the Poor People's Campaign that Dr. King began organizing before his death.

She spoke about the scourge of gun violence and the need to end it.

"Dr. King would be devastated that 175,987 children and teens have been killed by gun violence since his death," Edelman stated. "We can do better than that."

Edelman said honoring Dr. King should mean more than just holidays and memorials.

"Dr. King's dream is in our hands and we must carry on until we achieve it. Let us honor him-not just with statues, memorials or holidays-but sustained, effective action to end the poisons of poverty, racism, and violence," she said.

"We can turn around the destiny of our children and make sure that they understand that they are loved, that they are heard, and as Dr. Edelman said - that they have hope," Lightfoot added.

They mayor said the greatest measure of success is in how successful those children are.

Dr. Mildred C. Harris, founder and CEO of God First Church and Ministries, was this year's Champion of Freedom Award recipient.

This year's celebration featured award winning photographs of Dr. King from the Civil Rights Movement by Bernard Kleina.
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