Fr. Michael Pfleger

Fr. Michael Pfleger

Community and Civil Rights Activist to Speak

December 17, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Father Michael Pfleger, community and civil rights activist, will be the keynote speaker at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellowship Dinner.  Co-sponsored by Illinois Wesleyan University and The United Community Gospel Singers of Bloomington-Normal, the event will take place on Saturday, Jan. 19, at 1 p.m. in the Main Lounge of Memorial Center (104 University St., Bloomington). The Fellowship Dinner precedes the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday Gospel Festival on Monday, Jan. 21.

Tickets for the Fellowship Dinner are $12 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under.  Tickets may be purchased through the Illinois Wesleyan University Bookstore, located in the Hansen Student Center (300 Beecher St., Bloomington) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Known for his activism in Chicago communities and beyond, promoting safety from gangs, guns, and drugs, his campaigns for stronger regulation of alcohol and tobacco billboards, and his drive for racial equality, Father Pfleger is the recipient of numerous awards including “Keeper of the Dream” awarded by Rainbow/PUSH; Distinguished Service Award issued by the Nation of Islam; “Thurgood Marshall Award” given by the National Black Prosecutors Association; the “Monsignor Egan Social Justice Award” issued by DePaul University; and the Rosa Parks Award issued by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. 

A couple of Father Pfleger’s activist efforts include collecting funds for the Saint Sabina Aids Clinic in Ghana and for Samaritan House, a program that aided two individuals who relied upon a community shelter by providing housing, mentoring, and job placement assistance, and social services.  The goal of this service was to help the individuals obtain and maintain a self-dependent lifestyle.  Father Pfleger founded both of these organizations and many others. 

In recognition of his work, Father Pfleger has been profiled in Newsweek, The New York Times, Ebony, and Time, among others, and has also been acknowledged on several national television shows, including “60 Minutes” and “The Larry King Show.”

In 2003, Father Pfleger addressed the attendees of the national Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Service at Mrs. Coretta Scott King’s invitation. 

Appointed Pastor of Saint Sabina Church, Chicago, in 1981, Father Pfleger became the diocese’s youngest full pastor.  He has served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of St. Mary, in Mundelein, Ill., lead workshops and seminars at numerous mid-western universities, developed curricula for Chicago Public Schools.  He also serves as a member of multiple boards and committees.

For additional information about the event, contact Rev. James Sims at (309) 828-4602, or Carl Teichman, director of government and community relations at IWU at (309) 556-3429.

 Contact: Jessica Block, (309) 556-3181