In honor of the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther, Jr., the City of Aurora will host the 36th Annual MLK Ceremony at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, January 18.
The annual celebration, which traditionally brings together more than 1,000 participants, will be virtual this year.
With the theme “Continuing the Legacy and Changing the Narrative,” the program will feature youth performances, greetings from local leaders and a presentation of the annual Donna J. Williams MLK Award of Service to community advocates who have served Aurora in unique ways during the pandemic.
“With all of the developments in the world this past year, we are reminded of the importance of Dr. King’s example, message and movement more than ever,” said Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin. “We need leaders of all ages and backgrounds who stand strong in the face of challenges, even when it is not comfortable or convenient. Each of us must do our part to continue King’s legacy and get to the proverbial mountaintop he spoke of so vividly.”
The evening will begin with a special welcome from Grammy-nominated singer and Gospel music icon Vickie Winans, and conclude with a theme-focused conversation with visionary leaders who are carrying the mantle of Dr. King.
Mayor Irvin will moderate the panel discussion with United States Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, whose 14th Congressional District includes part of Aurora, and United States Congressman Danny K. Davis, who has served in the House for 25 years and works closely with Mayor Irvin on the State’s new Commission on the Social Status of Black Males.
Joining the panel to represent the emerging generation of young leaders is national motivational speaker and teen tech entrepreneur Ian Michael Brock. Named by Encyclopedia Britannica as one of the Top Shapers of the Future, 16-year-old Brock is an innovator who empowers youth to dream big and to believe they can be at the forefront of creating new technology for the future. At 12-years-old, Ian founded the non-profit organization, Dream Hustle Code, to bring hope and inspiration to others.
“I look forward to returning to Aurora, albeit remotely this time,” said Brock, who was invited by Mayor Irvin last January to speak with Aurora middle school students. “The youth are not only the future; we are the present, and we must learn lessons from the past to successfully change the narrative.”
The City of Aurora’s 2021 virtual MLK Ceremony will be live-streamed on the City’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CityofAuroraIL and on the homepage of the City’s website at www.aurora-il.org.