Mass Incarceration

Waukegan Township Dreamers Event challenges people to keep up the fight; ‘We still have work to do’ – Chicago Tribune

Members together with visitor audio system, native officers and award winners on the Waukegan Township Martin Luther King Jr. Dreamers Occasion had been requested a fill within the clean: “Now could be the time for ____.”

Almost 60 years in the past, King spoke of the “fierce urgency of now” throughout his “I Have a Dream” speech. Township Supervisor Marc Jones stated King’s phrases from that speech stay related at this time as voter suppression and mass incarceration are nonetheless prevalent.

“Optimistic strides have been made, however we nonetheless have work to do,” Jones stated, explaining why he requested the occasion’s audio system to fill within the clean.

Keynote audio system, native officers and a number of the 10 Drum Majors for Justice Award winners labored the reply to Jones’ query into their remarks Monday in the course of the Twenty first-annual Waukegan Township Dreamers Occasion held just about to rejoice the nationwide King vacation.

The Rev. James T. Meeks, the retired senior pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Chicago and a former Illinois state senator, was one of many two keynote audio system. He talked about King’s work left to do as he instructed tweets the late civil rights chief and Nobel Prize winner would submit.

Meeks stated points like voter suppression, faculty segregation, mass incarceration, apathy and silence from those that share King’s Christian values, just like the white Evangelical church buildings which had been current 60 years in the past, nonetheless influence individuals at this time.

“We may swing any election if we simply vote. There’s nonetheless energy within the poll. Ninety % of Black children go to highschool with solely Black children,” Meeks stated. “We’re wealthier than we’ve even been, however we aren’t funding so many issues,” he added, referring to Black church buildings.

U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Highland Park, stated there are members of American society who’re disenfranchised, and now’s the time to treatment that. State Sen. Adriane Johnson, D-Buffalo Grove, stated now’s time to guarantee nobody feels “hopelessly behind.”

Simply as King believed in his time social justice was not equally distributed, Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart stated the identical is true for too many now. It should come to a cease shortly.

“It’s time for us to struggle for social justice, notably for individuals who have been forgotten and ignored,” Hart stated. “We should arise for them proper now.”

Lake County Board Vice Chair Mary Ross Cunningham, one of many Drum Main for Justice Award winners, gave an instance of how she was capable of assist make a distinction for individuals who misplaced their driver’s licenses. She created a program to assist them return to the highway.

“I acquired 82 individuals their licenses to allow them to get to work and maintain their kids,” Cunningham stated.

Simply as King urged individuals to finish their silence after they noticed injustice, the Rev. Stephen J. Thurston, II, the previous pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Chicago and the opposite keynote speaker, stated the identical is true in 2023.

Thurston started repeatedly personifying “another person” as he talked about all of the issues individuals are leaving to others, somewhat than taking motion themselves. He spoke of a wide range of causes “another person” championed. It doesn’t work to remedy injustice, he stated.

“You and I don’t have the best to stay silent anymore,” Thurston stated. “Now could be the time. We are able to all make a distinction, however not till you relinquish your proper to stay silent. None of us on this nation can stay silent.”

The Rev. Gregory Randle, pastor of the Waukegan Bible Baptist Church, stated simply as King was immersed within the gospel, now’s the time for individuals to look to these teachings for inspiration and motion.

“You possibly can study rather a lot from gospel,” Randle stated. “Gospel was woven into what Dr. King stated.”

For Lake County Clerk Anthony Vega, now’s the time is a part of his job as he strives to proceed to realize what King fought for greater than a half-century in the past.

“Now could be the time to train your proper to vote,” Vega stated, referring to the Feb. 28 main election and the April 4 basic contest for native elections for municipal, faculty board, park district and library board places of work.

Different Drum Majors for Justice are Bruce Johnson, the CEO of Nicasa Behavioral Well being Providers; Ronnel Ewing and Yvette Ewing of The Neighborhood Works; the Rev. Tiffany Peppers of Jesus Title Apostolic Church and the Rev. Jesse Padilla of Iglesia Evangelica Bautista Emanuel church in Waukegan.

Extra drum majors are Evonda Fulton, the school and profession readiness coordinator for Waukegan Neighborhood Unit College District 60; the Rev. Juan Romero of Cristiana Pacto Con Cristo, Minister Daniel Hartman of Mosaic Ministries, North Chicago Ald. Ken Smith and Jesus Gerena of Iglesia Rebano Condado de Lake.

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