Local News, Opinion

The Weeks | Jan. 14: MLK Day of Service projects, King’s revolutionary vision, county warming centers, Dragon Day

Flossmoor Board of Trustees will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, in village hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road. 

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Attend virtually here or call 312-626-6799, and connect with ID  880 7726 4760 and passcode 60422 .
  • Highlights: The board will consider a special use for a the development of Flossmoor Veteran’s Memorial at 2525 Flossmoor Road and an amendment to a special use and a plat of consolidation for the property at 19581 Governors Highway, Flossmoor Animal Hospital.

Homewood-Flossmoor High School Board of Education will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, in the Viking Room, South Building, 999 Kedzie Ave.

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlight: The board will recognize boys track and field Coach Nate Beebe on being named the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association (ITCCCA) Coach of the Year, and boys track and field Assistant Coach Rob Assise, on being named the ITCCCA Assistant Coach of the Year. 

Homewood-Flossmoor Park District Board of Commissioners will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, at the Goldberg Administration Building, 3301 Flossmoor Road. 

  • Find the agenda here.

Homewood Public Library Board of Trustees will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, in the library, 17917 Dixie Highway. 

  • When available, find the agenda here.

Flossmoor Plan Commission will meet at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, in village hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road. 

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlight: The commission will hold a public hearing on a request for a special use permit from Andrea Forte of Flossmoor to operate a day care at 19509 Governors Highway.

Homewood-Flossmoor High School Board of Education will hold a committee of the whole meeting at 8 a.m. Friday, Jan. 19, in the Viking Room, South Building, 999 Kedzie Ave. 

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlights: Discussion topics will include leadership succession planning, administrative contract renewals and merit pay, class rank and weighted grades and fund balance policy. 

Stuff to do

Monday, Jan. 15

MLK Day Craft. Kids ages 3 to 12 can make a peace flower from 1 to 2 p.m. at Homewood Public Library, 17917 Dixie Highway.

MLK Day of Service projects:

  • Hoops for Hunger. The second day of the basketball tournament hosted at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, 999 Kedzie Ave. Donations of non-perishable food items will be collected for Respond Now on both days. Games on Monday: 1 p.m., Hillcrest vs. Riverside-Brookfield; 2:30 p.m., Thornton vs. Niles North; and 4 p.m., H-F vs. Romeoville. Admission is $15 per person.
  • Crochet or knit covers for water filters for Water with Blessings distributing water filters and buckets to women in countries that don’t have easy, inexpensive access to clean drinking water. Crocheted covers help protect the filters from breaking. Creation session will be from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Flossmoor Village Hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road. Finished products can also be dropped off at the Flossmoor Public Library. For patterns, click here.
  • Chi Lambda Lambda Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity blood drive at Irwin Community Center, 18120 S. Highland Ave. in Homewood, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Create Valentine’s Day cards at Flossmoor’s Serena Hills Elementary School, 255 Pleasant Drive, for residents of long-term care facilities from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Registration is required.
  • Make cards supporting veterans living at the Manteno Veterans Home at Flossmoor Hills School, 3721 Beech Street in Flossmoor from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Donations of new winter clothing items will also be accepted.
  • Pick up litter at Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15981 Paxton Ave. in South Holland, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Make lunches for South Suburban PADS and tie blankets for You Matter 2’s Project Kennedy at Flossmoor’s Heather Hill School, 1439 Lawrence Crescent, from 10 a.m. to noon.
  • Organizing food items and making blankets sponsored by Spotlight Performance Academy, working at the Homewood Science Center, 18022 Dixie Highway, from 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Read with the Homewood-Flossmoor High School boys’ wrestling team at the H-F Fieldhouse, 800 Governors Highway, from 10 a.m. to noon. Donated children’s books are also needed.
  • Homewood-Flossmoor High School girls’ wrestling team wrestling demo. After the demo, girls will be invited to make friendship bracelets to encourage kindness and inclusivity. Demo and bracelet making will occur at the Homewood-Flossmoor High School Fieldhouse at 800 Governors Highway. This program will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Open to girls in Kindergarten-grade 8. Register here.
  • Donate blood at Irwin Community Center, 18120 S. Highland Ave., Homewood from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., organized by Chi Lambda Lambda Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Open to anyone aged 16 and up. Register here.
  • Give back to nature at Irons Oaks, 20000 Western Ave. In Olympia Fields from 10 a.m. to noon. There will be projects for the whole family. For more information and to register, click here

Tuesday, Jan. 16

Homewood Stories. Flossmoor Mayor Michelle Nelson will be one of the five storytellers at the 7:30 p.m. show at Flossmoor Community House, 847 Hutchison Road. Tickets are $20 at the door, or $15 if purchased in advance. For information on Homewood Stories, contact producer Karen O’Donnell at [email protected].

Dragon Day. Appreciate a Dragon Day at Flossmoor Public Library, 1000 Sterling Ave., is for kids 8 to 14. From 6 to 8 p.m. There will be a fun dragon craft and the movie “How to Train Your Dragon” will be shown. Snacks will be provided. Registration is required for the evening event, and children under 9 years old must have an adult caregiver stay with them at the program.

Thursday, Jan. 18

South Suburban Archaeological Society. Claudia Brittenham, professor of art history at the University of Chicago, will present “Unseen Art in Ancient Mesoamerica” at 7:30 p.m. in Irwin Center, 18120 Highland Ave. in Homewood.
Call 773-268-6705 for more details, or go to southsuburbanarchsociety.weebly.com.

Saturday, Jan. 20

STEM Saturday. Science learning and fun from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Homewood Science Center, 18022 Dixie Highway. 

News & Notices

Cook County warming center hours extended. Cook County will continue to experience dangerously low temperatures over the next several days, with wind chills as low as 30 degrees below zero. County opened 24-hour warming centers on Saturday to help residents combat extreme weather conditions. The warming center hours will be extended to remain open until 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17. The center nearest H-F is at Markham Courthouse, 16501 S. Kedzie Ave. The county’s warming centers will provide water and snacks as well as access to restrooms. View the complete list of warming centers throughout Cook County.

Spotlight Performance Academy classes. Sign up by Jan. 20 for spring classes, including Bel Canto children’s and community choirs, South of Chi Improv and Miss Angie’s Music Makers for kids aged 1 to 5. Visit the website for more information.

The MLK Day of Service is an annual burst of kindness, generosity and community support. In our area, Flossmoor is the epicenter of the effort. The village’s Community Relations Commission coordinates more than 20 service projects every year. The commission’s efforts help the rest of us find opportunities to provide support for people in our area who are suffering a wide variety of ills, from poverty and homelessness to loneliness and illness.

Congress designated Martin Luther King’s birthday as a national holiday in 1983. In 1994, Congress made it the nation’s only designated day of service.

The Chronicle has been covering the Day of Service since it began, and I always marvel at how many people come out in the cold to do their bit. The resourcefulness and energy it takes to translate so much good will into good works is impressive.

The fact that the Day of Service has continued to attract energy and participation suggests there remains a deep commitment in our country to caring for each other, a counterpoint to the steady stream of reports these days about partisan divisions deepening and becoming more intractable.

The Library of Congress website quotes Coretta Scott King as saying, “The greatest birthday gift my husband could receive is if people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds celebrated the holiday by performing individual acts of kindness through service to others.”

The Day of Service is that gift. 

It could also be seen as an annual reminder of how partially we have embraced King’s vision, neglecting the most difficult demands he made.

According to Peniel E. Joseph in “The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.” the MLK holiday we celebrate today has “airbrushed” King’s vision of justice to make it more broadly appealing.

“King would not recognize himself in the uncomplicated, largely timid figure that much of the nation and the world celebrate today,” Joseph writes. 

I admit I long accepted the watered-down version of King’s legacy. It’s designed to make us feel good about him and about ourselves. But then I kept reading.

Joseph says when King was in Memphis to promote the Poor People’s Campaign a few weeks before he was assassinated, he said in a speech supporting the Black sanitation workers’ strike, “It is a crime for people to live in this rich nation and receive starvation wages.” He was arguing against the economic hierarchy many assume is natural.

After his Memphis stop, he visited Marks, Mississippi, and wept at the abject poverty he encountered, according to Joseph. Dozens of children attended an event for King, “many of them barefoot and without proper clothes.” 

Individual acts of kindness are wonderful. People in need need us to help. People who are fortunate benefit from helping. But King was advocating for something bigger, more ambitious, more revolutionary, especially near the end of his life. He hoped for a just society in which the basic needs of all would be routinely met.

Joseph writes: “King’s most important legacy is his conception of radical Black citizenship as not simply the absence of racial oppression but the beneficial good found in a living wage, decent housing, safe neighborhoods, health care, and racially integrated public schools and communities.”

If we were closer to making King’s vision a reality, the Day of Service might not be necessary. It would be built into the system.

Community Calendar

News by email

Subscribe to The Latest (daily headlines email)

* indicates required

View previous campaigns.

Free weekly newsletter

Subscribe to The Weeks (weekly newsletter)

* indicates required
Most read stories this week