The Fort Collins, Loveland and Colorado State University communities will unite Jan. 21 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 "One Man’s Vision, My Responsibility: Uniting Our Community."
Before the march, the community is invited to a 9:30 a.m. poetry and essay reading at the Colorado State University Bookstore in the Lory Student Center. Readers will include youth who participated in the Northern Colorado student writing contest. Colorado State students are invited to attend a 10 a.m. program at the Durrell Center on campus. The program includes educational speakers, singing and an opportunity to make signs for the march.
The program at the Oval will begin at 11 a.m. with a musical performance by the Abyssinian Choir, poetry and essay readings from the Northern Colorado student writing contest and a short speech by Jennifer Williams-Molock, director of Black Student Services at Colorado State. Selections by the Abyssinian Choir will conclude the program at the Oval and 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 to vehicles.
The program at Old Town Square will begin at noon and will include performances by local musicians Mark Sloniker, Colleen Crosson, Terry Meyer, Chris Nelson and Gerald Gates. Other events include the announcement of poetry and essay contest winners, presentation of service grants, poetry readings and recorded portions of King’s "I Have a Dream" speech. Participants will be invited to share in refreshments and a special birthday cake at the program’s conclusion.
March leaders will include Colorado State President Albert C. Yates; Fort Collins Mayor Ray Martinez; Poudre School District Superintendent Don Unger; Jim Butzek, Front Range Community College vice president, Larimer Campus; Sean Mattox, Colorado State University student body president; Anthony Gonzales, Front Range Community College student body president; Williams-Molock; Thompson School District Superintendent Dan Johnson; Loveland Mayor Kathy Gilliland; Larimer County Commissioner Tom Bender; and Gus Williams, chair of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce.
That evening, a program will be held at 7 p.m. in Loveland at Bill Reed Middle School, 370 W. 4th St. The evening will include a performance by Ladjamaya, nationally renown actress, vocalist and director; musical performances; a poetry reading; and a food and clothing drive.
Sponsors of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration include the City of Fort Collins Human Rights Office; Colorado State University; the Fort Collins Coloradoan; Downtown Business Association; Front Range Community College; Loveland Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee; Northern Colorado Multicultural Corporation; Poudre School District; and generous support from numerous other businesses and organizations.
For more information about Martin Luther King Jr. Day events, call (970) 491-6444.