January 12, 2013

Mayor Emanuel and City of Chicago Commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday Week

Buildings Will Be Lit Blue from January 13-20 to Honor Dr. King

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Today Mayor Emanuel joined the Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago (BOMA) and Father Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina's Parish, to announce a City-wide initiative to light downtown buildings blue in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday.

“I am proud that Chicago will be lighting our buildings blue to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as our city and our nation marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s march on Washington and the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  “For over 50 years, Chicago has been the great crucible of the civil rights movement and this special gesture will symbolize our city’s determination to carry on Dr. King’s work by expanding civil rights to all people, providing equal education to all our children, and ensuring the safety of every resident.”

This initiative, now in its third year, was spearheaded by Father Pfleger to symbolize peace and unite the City.

“The practice of lighting up downtown buildings with a particular color to emphasize an issue has been very successful in bringing attention and conversation to important issues facing our City,” said Father Michael Pfleger.

To help commemorate the life of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City of Chicago will honor Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) as keynote speaker to at the 27th Annual Interfaith Breakfast on Friday, January 18, 2013.

Each year the City of Chicago hosts this ceremony and breakfast to reflect on the accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and acknowledge his impact on American history.

This year's keynote speaker, Congressman Lewis, is an American hero who has dedicated his life to protecting human rights and civil liberties.  As a young man, he marched alongside Dr. King and was nationally recognized as a leader in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s.  He has often been described as “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement” and has been called “the conscience of the U.S. Congress.”  Congressman Lewis has remained constant as a champion of progressive social movements and the struggle for human rights in the United States.

Dr. King’s life work represented a steadfast commitment to ensuring and advancing equality for all people. As a man of vision, he challenged Americans to fully embrace the core values of our nation’s constitution–freedom, liberty and justice–and worked tirelessly to awaken the conscience of the country.

For more information regarding the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Interfaith Breakfast please contact the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events at 312.744.3316.