Chicago mayoral candidates weigh in on race relations on Dr. Martin Luther King Day

CHICAGO (WLS) -- On the Martin Luther King Day, elected officials and those running for office spoke about race relations in Chicago.

At a special PUSH Excel scholarship breakfast, hundreds at the Hyatt Regency Chicago gathered to remember Dr. Martin Luther King's dream.

The celebration emceed by ABC7's own Terrell Brown was hosted by The Rainbow PUSH Coalition for the 29th year. Rev. Jesse Jackson believes Dr. King would look at Chicago today and hope for better.

"Poverty. Too many people don't have a job," Rev. Jackson said.

Several candidates for Chicago mayor stood with Rev. Jackson at a news conference echoing that and promising change.

"We've got to get a grapple on getting people employed, workforce development, re-entry programs," said mayoral candidate Susana Mendoza.

"There are parts of the city that have lagged for years and I'm committed to trying to find a way to help make this city more inclusive," said mayoral candidate Bill Daley.

"We have a glittering downtown that grabs our attention, but if we're going to be a world class city, we have to have strong neighborhoods as well," said mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle.

"We will never be the city we wanna be without confronting our past and our current situation and doing something about it," said mayoral candidate Gery Chico.

Newly inaugurated Democratic Governor JB Pritzker shook hands at the breakfast acknowledging there's a lot of work left do in the state when it comes to social justice.

"With Illinois having been stagnant on expanding people's rights and standing up for economic security and economic rights, not just civil rights, it seems to me that the road ahead is an opportunity for us to make real change," Pritzker said.

Meanwhile,he breakfast raised money for the PUSH Coalition scholarship program helping teenagers go to college.

Martin Luther King's legacy is being honored at several events across the city.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel will join members of City Year in Englewood to spruce up Deenan Elementary School and help paint a mural with the students.
The Chicago History Museum is commemorating the life and legacy of Dr. King.

Its exhibition, "Remembering Dr. King: 1929-1968" takes a look at key moments in the Civil Rights movement, with a special focus on his time in Chicago.

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Monday's activities include a musical performance by the Chicago Chamber Choir and storytelling and crafts that touch on peace and justice

The Chicago Children's Museum is presenting its annual, "What Does It Mean, Dr. King?" on Monday.
The original production covers the Civil Rights movement, including the issues of prejudice and equality.

Each twenty-minute performance is geared towards children from pre-school through elementary school.

The Obama Foundation is teaming up with the honeycomb project to host "A Day of Service" in honor of Dr. King Day.

Monday's efforts will support teen living programs. The organization offers a place for youth dealing with homelessness and helps them find housing and healthcare.

The Museum of Science and Industry is free for Illinois residents. Visitors can learn about African-American innovators in science, technology, art and medicine.

Monday night, our own Hosea Sanders will introduce the orchestra for the Chicago Sinfonietta, performing their yearly tribute to Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.
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