On Jan. 21, our nation celebrates the accomplishments of Martin Luther King Jr. Nearly 40 years ago, Dr. King described a vision of unity among all classes and across all races during his renowned speech at the 1963 Civil Rights March. Dr. King had a dream, but he did not live his life as a dreamer. He was a man of action who led by example in demonstrating that every American has both the responsibility and the ability to unite our communities.
Appropriately, the theme of this year’s community-wide celebration in honor of Rev. King’s birthday is “One Man’s Vision, My Responsibility: Uniting the Community.” I encourage all members of the Colorado State University community to embrace this responsibility and to attend our community-wide celebration of Dr. King and his legacy.
The celebration will begin at 11 a.m. on the Colorado State Oval with a brief program, musical selections by the Abyssinian Choir and readings by the winners of a Northern Colorado student writing contest. Jennifer Williams Molock, director of Black Student Services at Colorado State, will be the featured speaker at the event. Following the program, we will march from the Oval to Old Town Square in a tribute to Dr. King’s historic march on Washington, D.C.
Beginning at noon at Old Town Square, performances will be given by local musicians Mark Sloniker, Colleen Crosson, Terry Meyer, Chris Nelson and Gerard Gates. Certificates will be presented to winners of the poetry and essay contest, service grant awards will be announced and recorded highlights from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech will be broadcast. At the program’s conclusion, participants will be invited to share refreshments and a special birthday cake. Free buses will be available to transport marchers from Old Town back to the Oval after the march concludes.
An evening celebration in Loveland will complete the day’s events. The program will be held at 7 p.m. at Bill Reed Middle School, 370 W. 4th St., and will include a performance by Ladjamaya, a distinguished actress, vocalist and director; musical performances; and a poetry reading. Attendees at the evening program are encouraged to participate in a voluntary food and clothing drive to benefit local charities.
Dr. King’s unforgettable “I Have a Dream” remarks served as a statement of solidarity and hope for an entire nation. Regardless of our individual race, gender, economic and religious background, we have all benefited by Dr. King’s work to create a society that embraces the talents and aspirations of people from all cultures, backgrounds and experiences.
Our individual and collective responsibility to keep the dream alive continues. Please join me for the Martin Luther King Jr. march and events this Monday, Jan. 21.
Albert C. Yates is the President of CSU.