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Rainbow Push to Release New Documentary at 32nd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on January 17

Chicago's South Side nonprofit organization hopes to keep Dr. King's legacy alive.

Martin Luther King Jr and wife

January 15, 2022 marked the 93rd birthday of the famed Civil Rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan designated the third Monday in January a federal holiday in observance of MLK. This year, Chicagoans will celebrate the life and legacy of the civil rights leader on Monday, January 17.

Rainbow Push, a non-profit on Chicago’s South Side founded by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., will host the 32nd annual MLK celebration on January 17, 2022 at 10:00 AM. Registration is free, and the event will be held virtually.

News anchor Felicia Lawrence and college sophomore Josh Morris will host the MLK celebration event. Lawrence, a native of Chicago’s South Side, is best known for her work on “The Jam” on WCIU-TV. She’s interviewed many celebrities, including Gabrielle Union, Morris Chestnut, Phylicia Rashad, and Tyler Perry.

For the past 32 years, Rainbow Push has celebrated MLK Day by recognizing Black leaders and shining the light on systemic racism in America. Last year’s theme was “The Journey Continues As We Mold The Future.”

In addition to the MLK morning celebration on January 17, Rainbow Push will also unveil the documentary, “PUSH Excel Journey to Excellence.” The documentary was produced by Kathleen Rivera of Virtual Learning Systems, Inc. It will air at 6:30 p.m. on NBC5 Chicago.

The documentary will highlight scenes from Dr. King’s time in Chicago. Although Dr. King was born in Atlanta and did extensive civil rights work in the South, his contributions in Chicago will never be forgotten. Dr. King wrote, “Selma, Alabama, had been our pilot city for the Voting Rights Bill of 1965, and I had faith that Chicago, considered one of the most segregated cities in the nation, could well become the metropolis where a meaningful nonviolent movement could arouse the conscience of this nation to deal realistically with the Northern ghetto.”

Dr. King moved to Chicago in 1966 to tackle discrimination in housing, employment, and education. The Chicago campaign, known as the Chicago Freedom Movement, brought together the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and Chicago’s Coordinating Council of Community Organizations.

On July 10, 1966, Dr. King delivered a speech at Soldier Field in Chicago declaring, “This day we must declare our own Emancipation Proclamation. This day we must commit ourselves to make any sacrifice necessary to change Chicago,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

Chicago’s leaders and residents didn’t welcome Dr. King’s civil rights campaign. On August 5, 1966, a group of angry white protestors attacked him in Marquette Park as he was planning to lead a march to the Chicago realtor’s office.

Photo: Facebook via Keith Parker.

The “PUSH Excel Journey to Excellence” documentary will also chronicle the evolution of PUSH Excel, an organization founded in 1975 by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and other educators. By 1980, school districts had adopted the PUSH Excel principles to emphasize, “If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it, I can achieve it!”

To commemorate Martin Luther King Jr Day, Chicago Southsider has collected a number of events that will take place on Monday, January 17.

Don’t forget to register in advance to attend the MLK celebration events.



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