South Suburban College celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King’s Legacy with a heartfelt ceremony

South Suburban College celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King’s Legacy with a heartfelt ceremony

On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech to millions across the country, inspiring a civil rights movement bound to change the nation for the better. Almost 60 years later in 2023, King’s impact hasn’t lessened, and many, including those at South Suburban College (SSC), are still honoring King for his major contributions and advocacy during this time.

South Suburban College MLK Celebration 2023

South Suburban College MLK Celebration 2023 32 Photos
South Suburban College MLK Celebration 2023South Suburban College MLK Celebration 2023South Suburban College MLK Celebration 2023South Suburban College MLK Celebration 2023

SSC students, faculty, community members, and local leaders alike gathered together at the Kindig Performing Arts Center on Monday, January 16 to honor King’s legacy. The ceremony held on what would be King’s 94th birthday, centered around the theme of ''Restoration of Unity and Peace.”

"This year, we are honored to host this celebration in person at SSC with local leaders and community members. I am honored to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King through this year's theme, 'Restoration of Unity and Peace.' We invite the public to join us at this celebratory event honoring Dr. King," said SSC Chairman Terry Wells.

As part of the celebration, numerous speakers took to the podium to reflect upon the legacy that Dr. King left behind and additionally shared some of their own stories showing how the civil rights leader is still making an impact on the world today.

Wells was one of many who addressed the crowd during the event.
"We want the district to celebrate a change maker, to celebrate a monumental figure who had a dream that peace, unity, racial justice, and love could coexist," Wells said. "We are leaders striving to raise the voices of those who are marginalized in our society and fighting for social equity. In doing so, we ensure we carry out the principles of justice in education, civic engagement, law enforcement, business, and many other sectors. The dream of Dr. King didn't stop with his assassination 55 years ago but is alive in our daily actions so the celebration was not just a reminder but a catalyst for all to continue the path forward." 
Other presenters included Illinois State Senator Napoleon B. Harris, SSC President Dr. Lynette Stokes, Thornton Township High School District 205 Board of Education President Nina Graham, Thornton Township High School District 205 Superintendent Dr. Nathaniel Cunningham, Jr., Thornton Township High School District 205 Student Board of Education President Eghosa Omosigh, and Rev. Dr. Patrick Daymond of Covenant United Church of Christ.

This event was in partnership with SSC and the Thornton Township High School District 205. Students from the high school put on several performances as part of the event, covering many of the ideas and themes King advocated for decades earlier.

“This program was about bringing the community together and making sure we demonstrate to our young people that Dr. King had a vision and a dream, and he had the audacity to put forth an effort and have persistence. It was a wonderful opportunity for these young people to see someone like myself who went to the same schools they attended and was able to achieve all kinds of things, and realize that they can do that as well,” said Senator Harris.

Some of the performances were so moving that people couldn’t help but stand up from their chairs and throw their hands in the air. Some people even shed a few tears, grateful to be part of such an incredible celebration.

By the end of the day, everyone could agree that the ceremony was not only a way to help further demonstrate King’s messages but also a beautiful learning experience for the kids. By having the students involved, this knowledge can spread to the younger generation, keeping these messages alive for years to come as well.

“We have to celebrate Dr. King. We have to keep celebrating his legacy. We as adults are responsible to make sure our students understand Dr. King’s dream, and his dreams of unity and peace are endless--there is no period at the end of unity and peace. We have to keep doing this,” said Graham.

For more information on South Suburban College, visit ssc.edu