Northern Colorado Community Marches to Honor Martin Luther King Jan. 15

Members of the Colorado State University, Fort Collins and Loveland communities will unite Jan. 15 to march in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. The day will include performances, speakers and a re-creation of the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C.

The event will begin at 11 a.m. with a memorial program at the Colorado State University 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 "March Toward the Dream: Hear, Care, Grow."

Before the march, students are invited to attend a 10 a.m. program at the Durrell Center on campus. Participants will view a display depicting King’s life and work, listen to speakers and make signs for the march.

The community march will be led by Colorado State President Albert C. Yates, Fort Collins Mayor Ray Martinez, Poudre School District Superintendent Don Unger, Front Range Community College-Larimer Campus Vice President Jim Butzek, Colorado State student body President Daniel Kunz, Front Range Community College student body President Anthony Gonzalez, Colorado State faculty member Blane Harding, Loveland Mayor Kathay Gilliland and Thompson School District Superintendent Dan Johnson.

The program at the Oval will include a performance by the Broken Heart Singers, followed by essay and poetry readings from the Northern Colorado student writing contest. Harding will share thoughts and reflections on Martin Luther King Jr., and musical selections by Voices of Unity will begin the community march to Old Town Square.

The march will proceed east on Laurel Street to College Avenue, then continue north on College Avenue to Mountain Avenue. Participants will enter Old Town Square from the northeast intersection of College and Mountain avenues. Vehicle traffic along the march route will be closed during the march.

The program at Old Town Square will include a presentation of poetry and essay contest winners along with a reading of winning submissions. Mark Sloniker and Colleen Crossen will perform musical selections, and recorded portions of King’s "I Have a Dream" speech will be played. At the end of the program, participants will be invited to share in refreshments and a special birthday cake. Buses will be available to transport marchers from Old Town back to the Oval at the conclusion of the march. Buses will be located at Mountain Avenue and Remington Street.

That evening, two programs will be held. The first will be at 6 p.m. at the Durrell Center for college students and children. Children can meet in the Red Carpet Room and will be invited to watch a video on King and to make a collage. Students will gather in D.C. Bottoms to view a display, watch a slide presentation, "The Hero Can Be You," and participate in a candlelight vigil.

The second evening program will be held at 7 p.m. in Loveland at Mountain View High School, 3500 Mountain Lion Drive. Amani Ali, newscaster for KOA radio and president of the Colorado Association of Black Journalists, and Gloria Neal, newscaster and talk show host for KHOW radio, will speak on King’s impact on the media. The evening also will include an essay reading and performances by the Mary Constantine-Nelson Dancers and Heaven Sent. Those attending are encouraged to participate in a voluntary food and clothing drive.

All events are free and open to the public and co-sponsored by the city of Fort Collins, Colorado State University, the Coloradoan, the Downtown Business Association, the Northern Colorado Multicultural Corporation, Poudre School District, Front Range Community College-Larimer Campus and the Loveland Martin Luther King Day Planning Committee. Numerous Loveland and Fort Collins businesses provided generous support. In the event of severe weather, the march may be canceled. Check the campus Snowline Jan. 15 at (970) 491-7669 for updates.

For more information about Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events, call Brett Perozzi at (970) 491-0965, or visit the Colorado State Web site at