The Fort Collins, Loveland and Colorado State University communities will gather for joint activities in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 16. The theme of this year’s celebration is "R!se Up: You Are the Dream."
Martin Luther King Jr. Day events include the traditional one-mile march from Colorado State’s historic Oval to Linden Street in Old Town, Fort Collins. During previous years, about 4,000 people participated in the march. In addition, programs on the Oval and in Old Town will be part of the festivities.
The event will begin at 11 a.m. Jan. 16 at the Oval on Colorado State’s campus, including entertainment by RAM Nation, a Native American drumming group, and an address by guest speaker, Blanche Hughes, associate vice president of Student Affairs at Colorado State University.
Following Hughes’ address, the community is invited to participate in the annual march from the Oval to Old Town, which recreates the historic 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C.
The march will be led by many local dignitaries, including City of Fort Collins Mayor Doug Hutchinson, Colorado State University President Larry Edward Penley; Courtney Healey, Associated Students of Colorado State University president; representatives from Front Range Community College; Larimer County Commissioners Kathay Rennels, Glenn Gibson and Karen Wagner; Thompson Valley School District Superintendent Dan Johnson, Poudre School District Superintendent Jerry Wilson and students winners in the Martin Luther King, Jr. poetry and essay contest for local school-aged children.
Special guests include Valerie A. Pretty Paint, MLK Jr. scholarship recipient, Colorado State University’s Multicultural Leadership Retreat participants, Human Rights Commission Award winners, Fort Collins Youth Multicultural Retreat participants, Northern Colorado Multicultural Corporation Merchant Awareness Award winners and university Advocacy Office directors.
The march will proceed east on Laurel Street to College Avenue before continuing north on College Avenue to Mountain Avenue. Participants will enter Old Town Square from the northeast intersection of College and Mountain avenues, then continue on to Linden Street. Roads along the march route will be closed off during the march. Participants will be encouraged to sing as they march, with words to several songs provided in the printed program.
The program in Old Town will include entertainment by the Rainbow Chorus; a reading of "Still I Rise", a poem by Maya Angelou; a reading of a section of one of King’s historic speeches; and a keynote address by Blane Harding, ethnic studies professor at Colorado State.
Participants will be invited to share hot chocolate and birthday cake at the program’s conclusion, and hot chocolate and water also will be available on the Oval before the march. Sign language interpreters will be available at both the Oval and at Old Town.
In Loveland, acclaimed storyteller Katy Little will tell an original story based on the values of King at 7 p.m. at Thompson Valley High School. Little will be joined by Logo Ligi African Drumming and Dance Troupe, a professional African music and dance troupe dedicated to celebrating and teaching the style of traditional African performance art.
The Loveland event also will include readings of winning entries in the recent school district Martin Luther King Jr. Day essay and art contest.
Visit www.mlkfortcollins.org for more information about local Martin Luther King Jr. Day events.