Chicago faith, community leaders urge unity, healing as part of MLK's legacy

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The pandemic may have kept them apart for an annual tradition, but their faiths brought religious leaders together Friday for the 35th annual interfaith breakfast to commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It was a different kind of MLK birthday celebration this year as the city of Chicago mounted a slick video production online. This 35th anniversary of the Chicago celebration comes at time which Mayor Lori Lightfoot said is truly testing Dr. King's message of peace.

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"After the year we've had, a year that made many of us feel as if we've lost ground, our pursuit of justice and equality, we need the nourishment of Dr. King's vision of unity and healing," Lightfoot said.

Healing was the theme of the day and challenge of the future, according to keynote speaker Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, whose entertainer father lived at Cabrini Green. She still has lots of family in Chicago.

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"Chicago has changed quite a bit since my grandmother and the children left the cotton fields of Greenville, Mississippi for a better future," Lance Bottoms said. "But for as many things that have changed, so many challenges remain the same: systemic racism, health, economic, educational disparities, just to name a few."

Three community organizations working to change all that were celebrated on this day: The Chicago Community Trust, The Lawndale Christian Health Center and the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago. The groups are dedicated to making the healing happen.

"The healing we so desperately need only comes through transforming our suffering into a force of creativity and love which Dr. King spoke of so eloquently," Lightfoot said.
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