Members of the Fort Collins, Loveland and Colorado State University communities will join on Jan. 18 to pay tribute to the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. Events include performances, speakers and a re-creation of the 1963 Civil Rights March in Washington, D.C.
The celebration will begin at 1 p.m. with a program at Colorado State’s Oval followed by a one-mile march from the Oval to Old Town Square in Fort Collins. The theme of this year’s celebration is "Every Day a Dream, Every Day a Journey."
Before the march, students interested in learning more about the history of the civil rights movement will attend a presentation at 11 a.m. at the Durrell Center on campus.
The community march will be led by Fort Collins Mayor Pro Tem Will Smith; Colorado State President Albert C. Yates; Colorado State student body President Dan Stiles; director of Colorado State’s Black Student Services Jennifer Molock; Front Range Community College-Larimer Campus representative Mitch Kaman; Loveland Mayor Kathy Gilliland; Poudre School District Superintendent Don Unger; and Larimer County Commissioner Kathay Rennels.
Yates called the march "an opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to the notions of peace, liberty, safety and happiness for everyone in our community." He added, "The Martin Luther King holiday honors not only the memory of a single man but the spirit of a movement that challenged us all to become champions of peace and dignity for all people."
The program at the Oval will include a performance by the Broken Heart Singers, followed by a reading of the winning student essay from Poudre School District’s essay contest. Molock then will share reflections on Martin Luther King Jr. A performance by the Rainbow Chorus will begin the community march to Old Town Square.
The march will proceed east from the Oval along Laurel Street to College Avenue. Participants then will march north along College Avenue to Mountain Avenue and will enter Old Town Square from the northeast corner of the College Avenue and Mountain Avenue intersection. Traffic along the march route will be blocked off for the duration of the march.
At Old Town Square, the McGraw Elementary School Chorus choir will perform. The winning entry from Poudre School District’s poetry contest for junior high-school students will be presented, and participants can listen to recorded portions from King’s original "I Have a Dream" speech. At the conclusion of the program, participants will be invited to share refreshments and a special birthday cake.
An evening program in Loveland will conclude the day’s events. The program will be held at 7 p.m. at Mountain View Presbyterian Church, 2500 N. Garfield Ave. Patricia Sanders-Hall, an award-winning writer, storyteller, poet and motivational speaker will headline the celebration. The program will include performances by the Abyssinian Choir of Fort Collins, Loveland singer Jerria Williams, a dance troupe from Colorado State University and local poet LaMills Garrett. The evening also will include readings of the winning student entries in the Loveland Martin Luther King Day essay contest. Community members attending the evening program are encouraged to participate in a voluntary food and clothing drive for the House of Neighborly Services.
All events are free and open to the public, and are co-sponsored by the city of Fort Collins, Colorado State University, the Coloradoan, the Downtown Business Association, Front Range Community College-Larimer Campus, the Loveland Martin Luther King Day Planning Committee, the Multicultural Commission and Poudre School District. Numerous Loveland and Fort Collins businesses provided generous support.
Free parking is available at Colorado State in any A, X or Z lot on campus. Buses will be available to transport marchers from Old Town back to the Oval after the march concludes. In the event of severe weather, the march may be canceled. Check the campus snow line Jan. 18 at (970) 491-7669 for updates.
For more information, call Brett Perozzi at (970) 491-0965.