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2021 Virtual Day of Service

City of Highland Park to Host Virtual MLK Day of Service Event
Event will feature live virtual presentations, virtual service projects, and donation opportunities

January 11, 2021 – The City of Highland Park Human Relations Advisory Group (HRAG) and the Park District of Highland Park will present the 12th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. The event will be held virtually via Zoom on January 18, 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The event will honor the legacy of Dr. King's fight against inequity and his work to secure a just future for all, and will feature live virtual keynote presentations, remote service projects, donation collections and more. The live event will begin at 10:00 AM on January 18, 2021. The event will be recorded and posted on the City's website. Participants may RSVP to the Facebook event, available on the City’s Facebook page, to receive an event reminder.

Keynote speakers include Jefford Jason Humes, Karen M. Blackwell, and Lynn Epps who will pay tribute to Dr. King and share their own stories of his impact on their lives and the importance of servant leadership and sustained community engagement. Humes, a Historical Black College and University (HBCU) graduate who works in nanotechnology and serves as a Visiting Scholar at Northwestern University, will discuss how Dr. King inspired his own journey from an immigrant living on the South Side of Chicago to a successful career in the sciences. Blackwell, founder and CEO of Sage & Alms, a benefit corporation focused on social and environmental justice, will address ways in which she has applied Dr. King's example to her own life. Epps, a community activist, will pay tribute to Dr. King’s legacy with an inspirational speech. Musicians from Highland Park High School will provide musical tributes to Dr. King. Following each talk, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a facilitated Q&A with the speakers. 

Throughout the presentation, audience members will be encouraged to visit the City's website,, to identify opportunities for service and action that may be completed independently and remotely throughout the day and beyond. These include donating goods such as food, hygiene products and stuffed animals to local organizations in need at designated drop-off areas, filming thank-you videos for Highland Park and Highwood essential workers, and creating cheerful artwork to send to senior citizens. HRAG Student Representatives have created an interactive, online trivia quiz, and writers of all ages will be invited to submit their work to an essay contest.  The City's website also features a list of local service providers and short presentations by participating local organizations, to educate and entertain in an effort to further Dr. King’s legacy.

An annual initiative of the HRAG, the MLK Day of Service program is one of the City's signature events, typically hosted at the Recreation Center of Highland Park. In past years, local service organizations provide on-site service projects for all attendees to complete, and share information about their work and service needs. In addition, guest speakers address the audience and the Jesse White Tumblers have performed. Past events have attracted over 1,200 guests from Highland Park, the greater Chicagoland area, and around the country, completing thousands of service projects each year. 


More information about the 2021 MLK Day of Service event is available at