Chicago Fire FC reflects on legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


On this MLK Day, the Chicago Fire challenges its staff, players, fans, and the greater Chicagoland area to reflect on one of Dr. King’s less-cited quotes: 

“Negroes hold only one key to the double lock of peaceful change. The other is in the hands of the White community.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?

Throughout his work in Chicago, Dr. King fought against housing discrimination and demanded change in the city’s mortgage and loan practices, tenants’ rights, and access to jobs and quality education.

We invite folks to use January 16th to reflect on his statement. Regardless of your lived experience, privilege, or lack thereof, can we each name our respective contributions to systemic racial and economic inequalities and use Dr. King’s example to inspire us each to action?

Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson - “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was inspirational in so many ways. His quote ‘We are not makers of history. We are made by history’ is one that really resonates with me. It speaks of the gratitude we should all have for those who came before us and enabled us to have a  prominent influence in today’s society. His selflessness and dedication to something bigger than himself, highlighted by his ‘l Have A Dream’ speech, facilitated the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And for that, all Americans should be grateful because it has made the country a better place.”

Defender Justin Reynolds - “Martin Luther King means everything to me because without him I probably wouldn’t be giving this quote today. He gave his life for his dream to ensure that millions of African Americans like me could live to achieve ours, and for that I am eternally grateful for him.”

Defender Wyatt Omsberg - “It is so important to listen and learn from everyone within our respective communities in order to continue to move forward. Nobody exemplifies the importance of growth and progress more than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his words are a powerful reminder for us all to work together, learn, and create change. We have to continue progressing, and it’s on all of us to remember and embody Dr. King’s message as we continue to t“ke strides forward in the fight for racial equality.”

Eddie Rock, Senior Vice President of Football Operations - “Dr. King and so many others in the Civil Rights Movement - including Bayard Rustin, Jim Zwerg and Fannie Lou Hamer – sacrificed, physically and spiritually, for our country to realize our potential and promise. Our Club has made strides to better represent our City’s population. Intentionality in hiring, development, and retention is a long-term venture that plays out over dozens of decisions every month. Acknowledging and circumventing the systemic and personal biases in how we choose coworkers is the first step in creating an accountable and nimble team.”

Evan Whitfield, Vice President of Equity, Alumni Relations, & Engagement – “Dr. King’s words are a pointed reminder that each of us, in part, is responsible for the systems we live and work in. More importantly, Dr. King’s example reminds me that we each have agency to shape our world for the better. I endeavor to work with my Fire colleagues, the supporters, and our partners to create and implement policy and processes to ensure more equitable representation in our game.”

Jessica Yavitz, Vice President of Community Relations and Executive Director of the Chicago Fire Foundation
“I know the value of the opportunities that have been afforded to me and allowed me to get to where I am today. I use this knowledge and my influence to ensure the philanthropic work of the club provides greater life chances for those who need it the most.”

Jhamie Chin, Senior Director of Communications – “As the child of Jamaican and Chinese parents, I aspire to use my lived experience and professional skillset to diversify the Fire’s narrative and amplify the experiences of our Black athletes in our storytelling.”

Lee Hannant, Senior Director of Community Soccer - “The truth of Dr Kings words are obvious when viewed through a sports lens. All of us have to care, show up, and contribute for society to succeed. We are asking everyone in the soccer community to do their part so we can build a Club and city we all can call home.”