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Southland events celebrate King’s life

FILE - In this Feb. 7 1968 file phoDr. MartLuther King Jr. center speaks an audience while promising massive demonstratispring

FILE - In this Feb. 7, 1968 file photo, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., center, speaks to an audience, while promising a massive demonstration in the spring in Washington and hinting the crusade may be extended to the political party conventions in August. King, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference said the demonstration in Washington will last for weeks and maybe for months. At left is the Rev. Andrew Young, executive Vice President of the Southern Conference. Veterans of past social movements, such as Young, say the Occupy Wall Street protest has been a welcome response to the abysmal economy and has the potential to galvanize wide support, but whether it will lead to lasting political change remains to be seen. “There’s a difference between an emotional outcry and a movement,” said Young, who worked alongside King as a strategist during the civil rights movement. “This is an emotional outcry. The difference is organization and articulation.” (AP Photo, File)

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Updated: February 19, 2013 3:04PM



J.R. Martinez — an Army veteran, actor, author, motivational speaker and “Dancing With the Stars” winner — will be the keynote speaker Monday at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

The free event will be from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the medical center’s auditorium on Kilbourn Avenue, just south of 93rd Street.

Martinez in 2011 became familiar to television viewers nationwide for his dancing prowess in winning the 13th season of “Dancing With the Stars,” overcoming injuries he suffered as a soldier in Iraq.

He also portrayed Brot Monroe on the ABC soap opera “All My Children” for three years. Martinez wrote a book, “Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength & Spirit,” which was on the New York Times’ best-sellers list.

“I am honored to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Christ Medical Center campus and share with the audience a message of resilience, optimism and the true value of making the most out of every situation,” Martinez said in a prepared statement.

The celebration will feature the music of The Church Jazz Band. After the program, a multicultural lunch will be served, offering samples of food from around the world.

The medical center’s chaplain, the Rev. Richard E. James, who helped plan the event, said a large crowd is expected.

MLK Jr. Day events

Chicago Heights will hold its 16th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration starting at 10:30 a.m. Monday at city hall, 1601 Chicago Road. The Chicago Heights School District 170 jazz band will perform. Bloom High School students will read essays about King. Recording artist Ms. Wanda will sing, and Osei Andrews-Hutchinson is the guest speaker.

Folk singer and musician Ella Jenkins returns to perform her annual family concert celebrating King’s birthday at 2 p.m. Monday at the Beth Eden Baptist Church, 11121 S. Loomis Ave., Chicago. Admission is free. Jenkins received a 2004 Grammy for Lifetime Achievement. The concert is co-sponsored by the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park Community of Churches and the Beverly Area Planning Association. Birthday cake will be served after the concert.

In Park Forest, the free program “Celebrating Dr. King” will begin at 7 p.m. Sunday at Hallelujah Temple, 1 Dogwood St. There will be songs, speakers, poetry and historical vignettes. For more information, call (708) 503-6536.

South Suburban College on Monday will host its annual Martin Luther King Basketball Classic featuring area high school and college basketball action. Girls teams from Curie and Thornwood high schools will play at 11 a.m., followed by women’s teams from South Suburban College and Olive-Harvey College at 1 p.m.

Boys teams from South Shore and Thornridge high schools will play at 3 p.m., followed by the men’s teams from South Suburban College and Olive-Harvey at 5 p.m.

The games will be played in the SSC Fitness Center, 15800 S. State St., South Holland. Admission is $4 for adults, and $3 for seniors or students. All SSC students and children age 11 and younger get in for free. For more information, call (708) 596-2000, Ext. 2524.



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