First Church of God Christian Life Center Young Disciples sing "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" and "Break Every Chain." Photo by Genie Lemieux, Evanston Photographic Studios

Starting with the Officer and Gentlemen Academy kickoff and ending with the candlelight vigil at Alice Millar Chapel, the community of Evanston observed the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in words, music and action.

Before taking their places on the dais in the School District 65 board room on Jan. 18, the young men of the Officer and Gentlemen Academy read excerpts from several of Dr. King’s well known speeches.

At the community celebration at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center on Jan. 19, Fifth Ward Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, Mayor Stephen Hagerty and Patrick Keenan-Devlin each spoke, and Pastor Monté Dillard of First Church of God delivered the keynote address.

Indira Johnson invited the audience members – and the entire community – to the kickoff of the 2020 Year of Kindness and Nonviolent Action, at 3 p.m. on Jan. 26 at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St.

Spoken-word artist Summer Durant performed “Alternative Narrative for Black Girls After Danez Smith’s ‘Alternative Heaven for Black Boys.’”

Evanston Township High School senior Nia Dillard emceed the event. Evanston Children’s Choir sang “Marchin’ to Freedom” and “Shine on Me.”  With Anita Baker on piano, Felicia Patton closed the ceremony with “Up to the Mountain.”

On the bright, cold morning of Jan. 20 Interfaith Action of Evanston’s Walk for Warmth was its day of service honoring the legend of Dr. King. The walk began and ended at First United Methodist Church, with stops at the six houses of worship that take turns hosting the emergency overnight shelter: Unitarian Church of Evanston, Beth Emet, St. Paul’s Lutheran, First Presbyterian Church and First Congregational Church. This was the first Walk for Warmth, and organizers hope that it will become an annual tradition to raise funds to cover the costs of services for Evanston’s hungry and homeless residents and to heighten awareness of these needs.

Performances by students in Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.)’s annual Diverse Communities showcase, held at ETHS, highlighted the afternoon.

Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity sponsored the candlelight vigil that evening.

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...