On August 5, 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a diverse group of 700 civil rights activists, religious leaders and courageous community members from across the city marched to Chicago’s Marquette Park. As part of the Chicago Freedom Movement, King led this march to protest housing segregation.

Delia Ramirez’s work is a continuation of the work of the Chicago Freedom, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others who fought to make Chicago a more just and equitable city.

Delia was born and raised in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago. She was highly-involved with her local church during her formative and adult years. This involvement provided her with leadership and travel opportunities through which she developed a strong commitment to community development. She began working for Humboldt Park Social Services (HPSS) at the young age of 18, and she was promoted to Executive Director at the age of 21 – a role she held for nine years. Today, Delia serves as the Deputy Director of Community Renewal Society, a 134-year old progressive, faith-based organization that works to eliminate race and class barriers.

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Living Memorial Project commemorates the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s historic August 5, 1966 march through Chicago’s Marquette Park. This video is part of the project’s efforts to honor young leaders on the front lines, in hopes of energizing and inspiring communities across the city and country to remember King’s message and continue to work for genuine social justice.

Dr. King reflected on the Marquette Park March as “the first step on a 1,000 mile journey.” This march, occurring in a major Northern city, is as integral to the legacy of Dr. King and the history of the civil rights movement as the March from Selma to Montgomery or the March on Washington. Recalling the larger legacy of the march – and remembering the struggle for justice and equity – is more urgent now than ever in our city, across our nation and around the world.