Mayor Rahm Emanuel and keynote speaker Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. today joined city leaders and civic and religious community members at the 32nd Annual Interfaith Breakfast to honor the life and legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Each year, Chicago hosts the ceremony to reflect on the accomplishments of Dr. King and acknowledge his impact on American history. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination.
“Dr. King and Reverend Jackson share a voice and vision for equality, justice, and compassion that have made our city, country and world better and stronger,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Chicago is proud to commemorate Dr. King and honor Reverend Jackson for their commitment to civil rights, labor rights and human rights that continue to lift us up and inspire new generations around the world today.”
The recipient of the 2018 Champion of Freedom Award is Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., one of America’s foremost civil rights, religious and political figures. Reverend Jackson worked alongside Dr. King in the Civil Rights Movement. Over the past fifty years, Reverend Jackson has continued to play a pivotal role in virtually every movement for empowerment, peace, civil rights, gender equality, and economic and social justice.
Reverend Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, has been called the "Conscience of the Nation" and "the Great Unifier," challenging America to be inclusive and to establish just and humane priorities for the benefit of all. He is known for bringing people together across lines of race, culture, class, gender and belief. President Bill Clinton awarded Reverend Jackson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor in 2000.
A hallmark of Reverend Jackson’s work has been his commitment to youth. He has visited thousands of high schools, colleges, universities and correctional facilities encouraging excellence, inspiring hope and challenging young people to study diligently and stay drug-free.
The Interfaith Breakfast is presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and corporate partners including: BMO Harris Bank, ComEd, East Lake Management, Fifth Third Bank, Globetrotters Engineering Corporation, Peoples Gas, United Airlines, U.S. Bank, Walgreens and Walmart.