2016 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Countywide Celebration



The Cities of Champaign and Urbana, the Champaign County Board, Parkland College, and the University of Illinois invite the public to the 15th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Countywide Celebration on Friday, January 15, 2016. This year’s event will be held at Parkland College, “U” Building, 2400 West Bradley Avenue, Champaign, at 4:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

This year’s theme is “Investing In The Wealth Of Diversity In Our Community.” The Keynote presenter is Ms. Kathryn Harris, who will portray the legendary Ms. Harriett Tubman, and relay Ms. Tubman’s experiences as a “conductor” for the antebellum Underground Railroad. Ms. Harris is the retired Director of Library Services at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois, where she has masterfully reenacted Ms. Tubman (c. 1822–1913) for countless guests since the late 1990’s.

The purpose of the event is to celebrate the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to recognize and honor individuals/organizations that have made many contributions to their community in the areas of civil rights, human rights and humanitarian efforts.

This year, the Cities of Champaign and Urbana, Champaign County Board, Parkland College, and the University of Illinois will honor:

Barbara Kessel, recipient of the James R. Burgess, Jr. – Susan Freiburg Humanitarian Award.  This award honors the humanitarian efforts of individuals/organizations that improve the human condition by alleviating suffering and contributing to the basic human dignity of those in need.

Rohn Koester, recipient of the Doris Hoskins Prestigious Community Service Award.  This award honors individuals/organizations that engage in outstanding volunteerism and in so doing, contribute to the well-being of the Champaign County Community.

Melany Jackson, recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Outstanding Achievement Award. This award honors individuals/organizations that work for social justice in the spirit of Dr. King. The principles of justice that Dr. King espoused include promoting equal rights for all persons regardless of race, religion, economic status, or physical or mental disability.

The 2016 MLK Countywide Celebration Committee strives to ensure that this program is accessible to individuals with disabilities. If you are planning to attend and would like to request special accommodations, please contact the City of Champaign Community Relations Office at 217-403-8830 at least 72 hours prior to the start of the event with your specific request.


2016 MLK Countywide Celebration Committee:
City of Champaign, 217.403.8830
Champaign County Board, 217.384.3776
Parkland College, 217.353.2024
University of Illinois, 217.333.0885
City of Urbana, 217.384.2455