CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The lineup of speakers for this year's weeklong Champaign County Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration includes state Sen. Barack Obama, D-Chicago; Erika Harold of Urbana, a former Miss America; Charles Burnett, a movie director; and Christopher Edley Jr., a founding co-director of the Harvard Civil Rights Project.
Other events in the celebration, which takes place from Jan. 16 through Jan. 23, include movies, essay-contest readings and a drum performance. The celebration is sponsored by the chancellor's office and more than 70 other units of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as well as organizations in the community.
The celebration was created, in part, to bring together members of the campus and local community to reflect, discuss and plan ways to advance King's vision, said Nathaniel C. Banks, assistant dean of students.
Obama, who represents the 13th senate district on Chicago's South Side, will speak at 4 p.m. Friday (Jan. 16) at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center, 1001 Killarney, Urbana. The talk is free and open to the public.
Obama is a civil rights lawyer with Davis, Miner, Barnhill and Galland and specializes in employment discrimination, fair housing and voting rights litigation. He also lectures at the University of Chicago, where he teaches civil rights law and related subjects.
Harold, who was Miss America 2002-2003, will speak at 5 p.m. Sunday (Jan. 18) during a program celebrating service and scholarship. The free, public event will take place at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana.
Burnett will speak at free showings of two of his movies, "Nat Turner" and "NightJohn" on Jan. 19 (Monday). "Nat Turner" will be shown from 4 to 6 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Florida Avenue Residence Halls, 1005 College Court, Urbana.
"NightJohn" will be shown from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Beverly Cinema Art Theater, 910 Meijer Ave., Champaign.
Edley will deliver the celebration's keynote address, "The Affirmative Action Battle: New Directions for the Civil Rights Movement," at 4 p.m. Jan. 20 (Tuesday) in Smith Hall Auditorium, 805 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana. The public is welcome to the free event.
A community celebration Jan. 23 (Friday) will take place from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, and will feature drum performances and recognition of middle- and high-school student essay-contest winners.
Other events, which are free and open to the public:
Jan. 19 (Monday)
• 8:30 a.m. Prayer breakfast. Speaker: Clyde Mize of Atlanta. Mize is a King Scholarship recipient. Vineyard Christian Fellowship, 1500 N. Lincoln Ave., Urbana.
• 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Study circles and conflict resolution. Illinois Street Residence Hall, 1012 W. Illinois St., Urbana. Sponsor: Rotary Club.
• 6 to 7 p.m. Reading of essays submitted in the second annual contest, the focus of which is the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision. WEFT-FM (90.1).
Jan. 20 (Tuesday)
• 7 to 9:30 p.m. "La Ciudad (the City)." Moderators of pre- and post-film commentary: Adrian Burgos Jr., Isabel Molina and Maria Silva. 112 Gregory Hall, 810 S. Wright St., Urbana.
Jan. 21 (Wednesday)
• 7 to 9:30 p.m. "Free David Wong." Moderators of pre- and post-film commentary: Xian Barrett, Sumie Okazaki and Kent Ono. 112 Gregory Hall.
Jan. 22 (Thursday)
• 7 to 9:30 p.m. "The Intruder." Moderators of pre- and post-film commentary: Sundiata Cha-Jua, David Roediger, Lisa Spanierman. 112 Gregory Hall.
Jan. 23 (Friday)
• 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. "Moving to the Beat of the Drum!" 3:30: Amira, African percussion; 4: Chicago Singers, the American Indian Center of Chicago; 4:30: Ricardo Flores and the World Percussion Ensemble; 5: essay-contest awards; 5:30: Vinx performance. Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
• 7 to 9:30 p.m. "Rabbit Proof Fence." Moderator: Frances Gateward. 112 Gregory Hall.