The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

February 12, 2014

Banquet honors civil rights leaders

Former resident returns to be guest speaker

DANVILLE — A banquet this weekend will give people a chance to honor civil rights leaders and help a church continue its work in the community.

The 49th annual Lincoln–Douglass-King Banquet will start at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Days Hotel, 77 N. Gilbert St. It’s sponsored by Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church. For tickets, which are $25, call Virginia McKinney at 446-5639.

Guest speaker will be Shelly La Botte, formerly of Danville, who is the access to visitation grant coordinator for the state of California. She is the daughter of Mrs. and Mrs. Charles “Chuckie” Robinson and Joan Robinson of Danville.

La Botte said she will speak about how the three leaders — Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr. — have influenced her view of life.

“The idea is to remember them for the legacy they left for us — standing up for what’s right and fighting racism and sexism and other –isms,” she said in a telephone interview.

La Botte also will discuss the importance of community service and giving back, saying, “It’s our responsibility to give back to the community. We all have the power to make changes.”

Change can be made in small increments, she said. For example, people think if they can’t give more than an hour a day or week, then they’re not going to make a difference. However, that’s not true. All those hours add up to make a difference.

People in positions of power also need to be cautious and wise in their actions, and to work with others, she said, so positive changes can be made in the community.

Besides the speaker, the event will feature a meal, awards and entertainment.

Suzanne Adkins, a church member, said the banquet usually attracts 100-150 people, and is open to everyone of any race or religion. “It’s a humanitarian banquet,” she said, and awards in the past have been given to people who were not African-American.

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