The 20th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration took place on Monday, January 21, at Wheaton Christian Center. This year’s theme was “Beloved Community: Becoming the Dream” and featured speaker was Dr. Sheila Caldwell, chief intercultural engagement officer at Wheaton College. The event also featured a video of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, reflections from OCC (Outreach Community Center in Carol Stream) middle school students, an OCC elementary kids choir performance, an overview of OCC’s SALT (Student Achievement Leadership Team) and COP (College Opportunity Program) with testimonies from two SALT students, and a special community painting to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the event.

In her keynote address, Dr. Caldwell reflected on MLK’s dream speech and spoke about the past and current status of minorities in the U.S., discussing education, employment, homeownership, and incarceration levels. She challenged the audience to continue to “Become the Dream” and remain inspired by the life and legacy of Dr. King.

Special guests included the Village of Carol Stream Mayor Frank Saverino, members of the Carol Stream Board of Trustees, Carol Stream Chief of Police Ed Sailer with about 20 police officers, the president of Wheaton College, and several Wheaton College students and faculty/staff members.

Prior to the event, a RESTORE community dialogue circle took place, where attendees reflected on the life and legacy of Dr. King. After the event, guests enjoyed coffee and sweet treats provided by members of Our Savior Lutheran Church.

Thank you to the event’s sponsors: Outreach Community Center in Carol Stream, the Village of Carol Stream, Wheaton Christian Center and Our Savior Lutheran Church.

About Dr. Sheila Caldwell

Dr. Sheila Caldwell, Wheaton’s first chief intercultural engagement officer, provides leadership for defining and meeting campus-wide goals in deepening ethnic diversity, promoting racial reconciliation, and advancing intercultural understanding. Caldwell, a diversity and student success champion with nearly two decades of experience in higher education, currently holds leadership roles at the University of North Georgia (UNG) as advisor to the president on diversity, director for Complete College Georgia, and principal investigator for an Upward Bound grant. During her tenure, she secured more than $1.3 million in educational grants to help economically disadvantaged students achieve college success, and collaborated with academic affairs to significantly increase the number of faculty of color.

About RESTORE: Carol Stream Peacemakers

The mission of RESTORE: Carol Stream Peacemakers is to address harm experienced by members of the Carol Stream community who seek a peaceful resolution through restorative circles, a collaborative and effective dialogue process facilitated by trained group members. RESTORE: Carol Stream Peacemakers members represent several area churches, social service organizations and Dupage County Court and Probation Services (Juvenile Division).