Youth Organizations Umbrella and other non-profits will host the eighth annual Diverse Evanston Walks United event on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, Jan. 20.

The community-wide celebration is designed to engage youth and families from Evanston and Skokie in performances and speeches that promote non-violence.

This year’s theme, What It Takes, is aimed at remembering all the people, perseverance and actions that Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement took to give people a better life and remaining aware of the work that remains to be done in accomplishing Dr. King’s dreams.

The event will feature original songs, choreography, dramatic performances, and visual art pieces created by youth from all eight of Y.O.U.’s afterschool sites in Evanston and Skokie.

It will also feature speeches by Y.O.U. alumni, youth development specialists, and a volunteer mentor.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, and Y.O.U. founder Don Baker will be honored with the “What It Takes” Award for their dedication to serving Evanston and surrounding communities.

The program will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Music Institute of Chicago’s Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave.

A free lunch and reception follows from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at Lake Street Church, 607 Lake St.

The event is co-sponsored by Y.O.U., the McGaw YMCA, the Music Institute of Chicago, the Rotary Club of Evanston, and Whole Foods. The event is free and open to the public.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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