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Keynote Presentations

The 12th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on January 18, 2021 will be held virtually, due to the COVID pandemic.  The federal holiday declaring the third Monday of every January as Martin Luther King Jr. Day was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983.  Intended as a day of service, Highland Park's virtual event will honor the civil rights icon with virtual keynote presentations that further the legacy and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Additional educational, entertaining, enriching, and service opportunities are available on the City's virtual event landing page:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

Virtual Event:  Live Stream Keynote Presentations

Monday, January 18, 2021
10 - 11 AM
Click HERE to join the Zoom Webinar

Keynote Speakers:

From the Darkness to Inspired Dreams of a King
Presented by: Jefford Jason Humes

North Suburban Lubavitch Synagogue

- Mr. Humes will speak about the ways in which his parents’ belief system and teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. helped to inspire a life-long journey, which took him from the dark streets of Chicago's South Side to a successful career in the Sciences. 

- Mr. Humes is the Director of Research and Business Development for NanoIntegris Technologies Inc. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from Morehouse College - Dr. Martin Luther King's alma mater, studied abroad at the University of Leeds, pursued Masters level research in Chemical Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and is now a Visiting Scholar at Northwestern University within the McCormick School of Engineering. He was born in Belize and immigrated to Chicago at the age of four, growing up in various Southside neighborhoods. With a a heart for community service, he volunteers in numerous activities with the Key Club, Red Cross, and various high schools and universities. He is also a trusted nurse liaison at Cook County Hospital, was part of the prison ministry at the maximum security Stateville Correctional Facility and has been a mentor to youth in the Atlanta and Chicagoland regions.

Servant Leadership:  The Greatest Love of All
Presented by Karen M. Blackwell
CEO of Sage & Alms™, with brands Kanda™ Chocolates and DewBurst™. 

- Ms. Blackwell will speak on what the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service means to her and how she has lived his lessons during her lifetime thus far.  She will also speak about early influences in her life, illustrating one with a brief segment of an Oprah Winfrey interview she had as a younger woman.

- Ms. Blackwell is the founder and CEO of Sage & Alms™, a benefit corporation with the brands Kanda™ Chocolates and DewBurst™.  With servant leadership as her North Star, Karen created a benefit corporation to further illustrate her commitment to social and environmental justice.  As CEO, Karen develops and executes on strategic business models through global partnerships with a current focus on Ghana.  She created Kanda™ Chocolates to elevate the chocolate tasting experience while maintaining a commitment to social responsibility by maintaining operations in Ghana, purchasing fair-trade cocoa, and donating 10% of proceeds to charitable organizations.  What started as a love for chocolate has turned into a business for which she is passionate and an avid advocate.

I Have A Dream - Reenactment
Presented by Lynn Epps

Community Activist

- Mr. Epps will reenact Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's I Have A Dream speech, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial for the 1963 March on Washington.   As a call for equity and freedom, it became one of the defining moments of the civil rights movement and is now one of the most iconic speeches in American history. Mr. Epps delivers an impassioned performance.

With Special appearances by:

Mayor Nancy Rotering
Mayor, City of Highland Park

Lori Flores Weisskopf
Commissioner, Park District of Highland Park

Ellen Gussin
Chairman, City of Highland Park's Human Relation Advisory Group
Q & A Moderator

Teri Steinberg
MLK Coordinator,  City of Highland Park's Human Relation Advisory Group

Highland Park High School Band Members
Under the direction of Josh Chodoroff

Lift Every Voice and Sing
Saxophone Ensemble:   Andrew Kerpel, Jackson Bradshaw, Caydan Veltman, Asher Berghoff, & Noam Zipris 

Amazing Grace
Flute Quartet:  Avra Friedman, Maeve Lovell, Lydia Boby, & Julia Kerpel

We Shall Overcome

Brass Quintet:  Noah Weisbard, Leah Perlman, Genevieve Levinson, Kayla Beck, & Mason Goldbaum

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot 
Woodwind Sextet:  Mimi Friedman, Rodrigo Soto, Mateusz Zubrzycki, Josh Steinfink, Alex Bradshaw, & Elizabeth Smith