The Fort Collins, Loveland and Colorado State University communities will unite Jan. 20 to march in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. The day will include speakers, performances and a re-creation of the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C.
The celebration will begin at 11 a.m. with a program at the Colorado State University Oval, followed by a one-mile march from the Oval to Old Town Square in Fort Collins. The national theme of this year’s celebration is "Remember! Celebrate! Act! A Day On…Not A Day Off!"
Before the march, students can attend a presentation at 9 a.m. at the Durrell Center on campus. 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 children who participated in the Northern Colorado student writing contest.
The program at the Oval will begin at 11 a.m. with a musical performance by Won Gay. Duane Ruff and Biaz Miller, two Colorado State students, will emcee the celebration. King will be remembered by Colorado State graduate Fannye Belle Evans. In addition, junior high-school students will read their winning creative writing entries. Music by Won Gay and Deonte Waldroup will conclude the program at the Oval and begin the community march to Old Town Square.
After the events on the Oval, the march will proceed east on Laurel Street to College Avenue. The march will continue north on College Avenue to Mountain Avenue. Participants will enter Old Town Square from the northeast intersection of College and Mountain avenues. Traffic along the march route will be closed off during the march. Participants are encouraged to bring rhythm instruments to play along the march route.
The program at Old Town Square will include selections from the Abyssinian Church Children’s Choir, speakers, a recording of King’s "Drum Major Instinct" speech, essay readings and an opportunity to learn ways to volunteer throughout the community. Participants will be invited to share 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; David Bower, Colorado State student body president; Brenda Boulware, Front Range Community College student body president; Fannye Belle Evans; Loveland Mayor Kathy Gilliland; Tom Bender, Larimer County commissioner; and Chris Wood, chair of Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce.
That evening, a program will be held at 7 p.m. in Loveland at Thompson Valley High School. The evening will include a storyteller, essay reading, musical performances and a food and clothing drive. Gloria Green will headline the Loveland celebration. Along with her multifaceted presentation of the Harriet Tubman Story, Green will be joined by the Rainbow Chorus, who will perform a series of songs relating to King’s ideals. The Loveland presentation also will include readings of the winning entries in the Thompson R2-J Martin Luther King Day essay and art contest, along with diverse art displays.
This year’s sponsors include the City of Fort Collins Human Rights Office; Colorado State University; the Fort Collins Coloradoan; Front Range Community College; Gallegos Sanitation; Hewlett Packard; Loveland Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee; Northern Colorado Multicultural Corporation; Poudre School District; Poudre Valley Health System Foundation; area grocers including Albertsons, King Soopers, Safeway and Toddy’s; and generous support from numerous other businesses and organizations.
For more information about Martin Luther King Jr. Day events, call (970) 491-6444.