Amid Illinois coronavirus pandemic, WE Day goes virtual

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Saturday, May 23, 2020
WE Day honors Illinois youth in virtual gathering
WE Day took place Friday, but it was nothing like years past.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- WE Day is an annual event aimed at rewarding young people who are making a positive difference in the world, but this year's celebration was nothing like years past.

WEE Day Illinois usually involves thousands of young people gathered in Rosemont. This year the celebration was all virtual, featuring messages from speakers like Martin Luther King III.

"This is the kind of work my father, my mother, my family has been involved with and I always want to be part of continuing something that is positive for our nation and our world," King said.

Students always had to earn the chance to see their favorite stars and eb recognized by world leaders face-to-face, but now it's all online. As such, the message of connectivity has naturally changed.

"For example, had I seen you today we would have given each other a dap, and just said, 'How you doing? Gooo to see you brother.' That kind of thing," King said. "Well, we have to find a way to do that differently. I'm not sure how that's going to happen. But I'm sure it will happen appropriately."

One thing that didn't change was how WE Day shines the spotlight on young people who are still making a different, like Brayden from Minooka. Friday, he had a chance to show off his Little Library project to the whole world.

"Anyone may take a book or bring a book," he explained. "But if you take a book you're expected to bring a book with you."

His message is simple.

"My message is read. Four letter word, R-E-A-D. It's a simple message," he said.

And this was King's message on WE Day.

"The problems that we have are really exacerbated tremendously," he said. "That's why we have to turn to each other and not on each other."