The Beloved Community Begins Here

2017 Theme

Pursuing the Dream in Challenging Times

art making

2017 Calendar of Events

Friday, January 13, 2017


16th Annual Countywide Dr. MLK, Jr. Celebration

4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Parkland College “U” Building
2400 West Bradley Avenue, Champaign

This annual countywide celebration commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s legacy. It brings together community members from Champaign County to celebrate the mission, teachings, and legacy of Dr. King. This year, Dr. Christopher Benson, Associate Professor of African American Studies & Journalism at the University of Illinois will be the keynote presenter.

Contact: Tracy Kleparski (



Sunday, January 15, 2017


32nd Annual Dr. MLK, Jr. Service of Celebration

5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Foellinger Great Hall
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
500 South Goodwin, Urbana

Since 1988, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Advocacy for Justice Committee has awarded over 200 scholarships to local students attending colleges such as Parkland, University of Illinois, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. This year we honor the memory of Dr. King with Rev. Dr. Allan Boesak as the keynote speaker.

Contact: Tracy Kleparski (



Monday, January 16, 2017


32nd Annual Unity Breakfast

8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
The Vineyard Church
1500 North Lincoln, Urbana

The 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Advocacy for Justice Committee and Vineyard Church welcomes community members to join in celebrating the birthday of America’s preeminent advocate of nonviolence and one of the greatest nonviolent leaders in world history at the 32nd annual Unity Breakfast.

Contact: Tracy Kleparski (




MLK YOUTH Commemoration and Afternoon of Service

10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Urbana High School Commons
1002 S. Race Street, Urbana (parking available off of Washington Street)

Join high school youth for a celebration of the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The event includes performances, a keynote speech, guided discussion, and afternoon on-site volunteer activities.

Contacts: Libby Tyler (



MLK Day of Service

1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Illini Union I-Rooms, ABC
1401 West Green Street, Urbana

For University Students: Learn about the impact Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had on the world and complete a hands-on service projects that will be donated to community organizations.

Pre-register at

Register as an individual or group. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Contact: Office of Volunteer Programs (





Thursday, January 19, 2017


Krannert "Uncorked"

5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
500 South Goodwin, Urbana

Performing Arts has served as a global language used to connect people from all walks of life. Join us as we network and engage though a mixture of musical genres and spoken word. Performances by Nfinite Soul along with community and student performances will offer a setting to encourage Pursuing the Dream in Challenging Times through the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Contact: Tracy Kleparski ( or Price F. Robertson (



Friday, January 20, 2017


Poverty Simulation

1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Room 2027, School of Social Work
1010 West Nevada Street, Urbana

Of all Dr. King’s messages, one of his most prominent was the issue of poverty. The School of Social Work at U of I will be hosting a poverty simulation to help local community members and students to better understand the issues, hurdles, and roadblocks faced by those living in poverty. The simulation will allow participants an opportunity to debrief their experiences and think about how they can begin to tackle the challenge of poverty in Champaign County.

To Register:

Contact: Katie Harmon (



Saturday, January 21, 2017


Community Celebration

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Stage 5
500 South Goodwin, Urbana

This event marks the culmination of the week of events surrounding Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy. Interim Provost Edward Feser will provide opening remarks. The keynote speaker with be Dr. Eric McDuffie with the African American Studies Department. The program will include a presentation by Wrapsody, and a performance by the Banks, Bridgewater, and Lewis Drum Corps. The winners and honorable mention recipients of the MLK Creative Expressions Contest will also be presented. The event will have entertainment for all ages and is free of charge.

Contact: Tracy Kleparski (, Tekita Bankhead (, Alicia Robinson (

MLK Creative Expressions Contest Contacts


Lila Moore (, or Victor Perez (