Rock Island City Council members on Monday unanimously approved recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an official city holiday.

Based on public and employee input, City Manager Todd Thompson requested that Martin Luther King Jr. holiday be added to the official city holiday schedule for all employees on Jan. 16, 2023, and every year going forward, according to a Wednesday city release.

“It is gratifying to see these city officials embrace the importance of Dr. King’s vision for
equity and justice by recognizing this holiday,” said MLK Center Director Jerry Jones.

QC artist Heidi Sallows in front of her portrait of Martin Luther King, Jr., at the King Center in Rock Island.

He noted that MLK Day is about “remembering the work and aspirations of a great Black American hero toward inspiring all to seek a greater ideal. It is about acknowledging the challenges and the greatness that exists in our communities. It is about recognizing the injustice in our history and how the work of this man has pointed the way toward reconciliation and redemption.”

First Ward Alderman Moses Robinson was glad to approve MLK Day as an official city holiday.

“As we reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we must push ourselves to stand up for what is right even when it’s uncomfortable to do,” Robinson said. “Are we truly living the dream that Dr. King spoke of? It’s great to hear once a year but it should be a way of life.”

The MLK Center, 630 9th St., Rock Island, will hold its 40th-annual memorial service and awards ceremony commemorating the holiday on Monday, Jan. 16 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

LaDrina Wilson is owner of Iman Consulting and CEO of the Quad Cities Chamber.

Dr. LaDrina Wilson (CEO of the Quad Cities Chamber) will deliver the keynote speech and KWQC TV6 anchor Redrick Terry will act as master of ceremonies. This year’s theme is “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.”

For more information on the King Center, visit its website.