MLK remembered at Chicago Heights celebration
BY CASEY TONER email@example.com January 20, 2014 2:16PM
Seventh-grader Shekinah Bello, of the Chicago Heights School District 170 jazz band, performs Monday during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at Chicago Heights City Hall. | Casey Toner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 22, 2014 6:19AM
The life of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was celebrated Monday in Chicago Heights with dramatic poetry, uplifting essays and a jazzy rendition of “What a Wonderful World.”
The hourlong celebration, which also honored community leaders and civic organizations, was held at city hall, 1601 Chicago Road.
The Chicago Heights School District 170 jazz band performed, as did Let Your Rhymes Inspire Creativity, a spoken-word group from Chicago’s South Shore community.
Kendia “K-Love” Harris and Teh’ray “Phenom” Hale, the organizers of the group, encouraged the crowd to support the performers by snapping their fingers and cheering with approval. One of the group’s teenagers opened the set by walking in front of the crowd and reciting slam-style poetry.
“A man who would not die for something is not fit to live,” the boy said. “And I’ve been buried several times over.”
Addressing a standing-room-only crowd, Bloom High School students Lisa Rodriguez and Valeria Lopez read from their Martin Luther King Jr.-inspired essays, which won a citywide contest for high school students. Both students received ceremonial plaques, and Martin Luther King Jr.-themed posters from Chicago Heights School District 170 students were displayed outside the city council chambers.
“Life’s most urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” said Lopez, a senior who wants to attend Loyola University next school year.
Former Harold Colbert Jones Community Center president and Chicago Heights Public Library Board member Robert Booth was honored as the city’s humanitarian of the year. Booth, 95, died in November. He had served on the Chicago Heights Public Library Board for more than 50 years before stepping down in November 2012. His grandson, Mark Goesel, accepted the award on behalf of the Booth family.
Chicago Heights activist Chuck Derringer and his wife Laura were named the city’s volunteers of the year. After the meeting, Derringer passed out flyers for a senior citizens computer and smartphone literacy program set for 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of every month at St. Mark United Church of Christ, 312 N. Chicago Road.