Five ways to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with your family in Chicago

The other day at dinner, my older son got very serious when we were talking about schools and businesses being closed on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. He quickly interrupted our conversation to interject the important point that he couldn’t keep inside one second longer: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a very important man who helped teach us to treat everyone the same.

My husband and I immediately stopped our conversation and let the smiles widen on our faces. Our son was exactly right. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. helped inspire change and set us on the right course towards equality for all. While I’m thankful for all that our sons have learned about him in school, I appreciate that we have a whole day dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that allows us to put school and work aside (if we’re fortunate enough to do so), and focus on the man, the dream, the legacy, and the implications.

Personally, I’ll never forget standing with my family on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and seeing how an African-American family reacted to being able to stand on the very spot where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech more than 50 years ago. Even today, there is more work to be done in ensuring equality for all – and helping to ensure others are just as moved as the one family I witnessed just a few years ago.

For me, taking the time to really reflect on his message and his work on Monday, January 20 can only, hopefully, help make Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream a reality for all someday very soon.

Honoring the man, his dream and his legacy in Chicago

In Chicago, we’re lucky to be able to participate in many opportunities to recognize Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the holiday held in his honor on Monday, January 20. Here are five ways you can commemorate the holiday and honor the man, his dream and his legacy with your family:

1. Black Creativity Family Day
Museum of Science and Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago
Monday, January 20, 10 am
Free with museum entry (Museum admission is free for Illinois residents on January 20)

The Museum of Science and Industry’s Black Creativity program invites families to explore the contributions and achievements made by African Americans. Designed to inspire children to become innovators of tomorrow, Black Creativity Family Day will feature Innovation Stations throughout the Rotunda on Main Level 2. The stations will focus on transportation, food and nutrition, energy and the environment. Families with budding scientists ages 10 years old and up can attend Jr. Science Cafes to meet STEM professionals and learn what it’s really like to be a scientist, engineer or innovator.

2. Chicago Sinfonietta’s Annual Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Wentz Concert Hall of North Central College
171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville
Sunday, January 19 at 3 pm

Orchestra Hall of Symphony Center
220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
Monday, January 20 at 7:30 pm

The Chicago Sinfonietta will perform two annual tribute concerts to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – one on Sunday, January 19 in Naperville and second one on Monday, January 20 in Chicago. The concerts feature the North American premiere of a multimedia work by JacobTV called Mountain Top, which remixes audio and video form Dr. King’s “I’ve been to the mountain top” speech with live orchestral and choral music. Each one also will feature the Roosevelt University CCPA Conservatory Chorus and the Apostolic Church of God Sanctuary Choir. Tickets can be purchased online.

3. Martin Luther King Holiday Celebration
The DuSable Museum of African American History
740 E. 56th Place, Chicago
Monday, January 20, 10 am – 6 pm
Museum admission is $10 for adults, $3 for children ages 6 – 11 years old

This year, The DuSable Museum of African American History will present its 23rd Annual King Day Celebration on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The all-day event will include thought-provoking films, live music, theatrical performances, family activities, food and much more.

4. Joffrey Ballet’s African Dance Master Class
Joffery Tower, 4th Floor
10 E. Randolph St., Chicago
Monday, January 20, 12 – 1 pm
$15 per person

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Joffrey Academy of Dance is hosting an African Dance Master Class with Andrea Vinson. The class, which is well-suited for families and dancers of all levels, provides an introduction to African dance steps accompanied by live drummers. Class reservations should be made via email or phone by Friday, January 17.

5. What Does it Mean, Dr. King?
Chicago Children’s Museum
Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand Ave., Chicago
Monday, January 20, 11 am, 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm
Museum admission is $14 for children and adults (children under 1 years old are free)

The Chicago Children’s Museum will offer its What Does it Mean, Dr. King? program for children at four different times on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The interactive musical drama will take kids on a journey back in time to learn about freedom and the Civil Rights Movement.

While you’re at Navy Pier, be sure to see a special performance by All God’s Children Choir in the Family Pavilion. The free performance starts at 1 pm.

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