CHICAGO  —  Suburban Human Relations Commission (SHRC) President Reverend Clyde H. Brooks announced today that John Bryant, Chairman and CEO of financial literacy and empowerment organization Operation HOPE, Inc., will receive the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Excellence in Leadership Award at the 38th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Dinner on Saturday, January 14, 2006.

The award is presented to those who best embody the ideals of the late civil rights icon and who are keeping King’s dream alive through their example.

"John Bryant is keeping Dr. King’s dream alive by helping economically underserved communities," Rev. Brooks said. "He is recognized worldwide as an authority on economic and community issues. He serves as role model and inspiration to all who seek to improve themselves."

Don Lemon of NBC 5 and Merri Dee of WGN-TV will serve as masters of ceremony. The black-tie dinner will be held at the Chicago Hilton Towers at 720 S. Michigan Avenue. The event begins at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7. The occasion is expected to bring together more than 1,000 leaders from the business, civil and social communities.

Past honorees include President Ronald Reagan, Andrew Young, Danny Glover, Kweisi Mfume, Willie Brown, Muhammad Ali, Julian Bond, and Rev. Jesse Jackson. Last year’s co-honorees were Ozzie Guillen (Manager, world champion Chicago White Sox), Lovie Smith (Head Coach, Chicago Bears) and Dusty Baker (Manager, Chicago Cubs).

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley serve as event honorary chairs. Gregg Steinberg, President of International Profit Associates and Larry Wert, President and General Manager of NBC 5 are the event co-chairs.

John Bryant is a businessman, a former United Nations goodwill ambassador, a partner with former President Clinton in an effort to promote financial literacy in Harlem, a Presidential Appointee for President George W. Bush, a Young Global Leader for the World Economic Forum, author of financial primer book, Banking on Our Future, and founder of financial literacy and empowerment organization Operation HOPE, Inc. He has been cited by the past four sitting U.S. presidents for his work to empower low-wealth communities across America. Recently he has been working on a mission to increase opportunity and access in underserved communities called ‘silver rights’. He is one of the most authoritative and compelling advocates for poverty eradication in America today.

The annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Dinner is one of Chicago’s most anticipated events. It is dedicated to celebrating the life, principles and ideals of the late civil rights leader, who would have turned 77 this year. His birthday, an observed national holiday since 1986, will be celebrated on Monday, January 16.

Currently, event sponsors are International Profit Associates, E*TRADE Financial and Bank of America. Benefactors are Citigroup, US Bank, Toyota, and The Private Bank and Trust Company. Golden sponsors are The First American Corporation, Wells Fargo, Charles Schwab Bank, Premiere Radio Networks, WGN-TV and NBC5 Chicago.

For more information about available sponsorships contact Jenifer Parsegian at For more information on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Dinner or the Suburban Human Relations Commission, contact Rev. Brooks at 847-253-7538.

About the Suburban Human Relations Commission (SHRC)

The Suburban Human Relations Commission (SHRC) is deeply committed to advancing peace and good will between and among all people.

The mission of the Suburban Human Relations Commission (SHRC) is to promote understanding, acceptance, involvement and unity across racial and cultural lines through the creation and execution of programs to advance human relationships.

The Suburban Human Relations Commission is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization. The Commission is governed by a Board of Directors representing business, education and the religious communities. Programs of the Commission are based on the need to:

Address conflicts across racial and cultural lines.

Identify resources needed to address causes for human relations disparities, and to apply these resources to address identified disparities.

Involve public and private sector leaders in the creation of human relations building models.

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