On January 15, 2016, the Cities of Champaign and Urbana, the Champaign County Board, Parkland College, and the University of Illinois sponsored the 15th Annual Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Countywide Celebration. This year’s theme was “Investing In The Wealth Of Diversity In Our Community”.
Approximately 400 people attended the celebration which was held in Parkland College’s Student Union this year. Kathryn Harris, retired director of library services at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, was the keynote presenter. Ms. Harris portrayed the legendary Harriet Tubman sharing her life experiences in a humorous and engaging presentation. She remained in character as Ms. Tubman for the reception following the program, answering questions and posing for pictures with attendees.
Three people from the community were recognized and received awards including: Barbara Kessel, for her humanitarian efforts; Rohn Koester, for his outstanding volunteerism; and Melany Jackson for her work for social justice in the spirit of Dr. King. This event kicked off a week of wonderful MLK celebrations across the community.