Jan 172011

The Fort Collins Martin Luther King Jr. Day March commemorated the ideology of hope.

Hundreds of Fort Collins and CSU community members took the streets on Monday morning, marching from Old Town to the Lory Student Center, united in the dream of continuing King’s legacy.

“Today we emphasize our goal for Fort Collins to continue to remain a community that embodies everything that King stood for,” said Fort Collins Mayor Doug Hutchinson, addressing the crowd that had gathered in the student center at the end of the march.

As part of the weeklong celebration of King’s life called “Educating the Heart and Mind,” a large crowd in the student center enjoyed presentations given by modern dance group Dance Express, slam poet Panama Soweto and keynote speaker Irene Vernon, the chair of the CSU ethnic studies department.

For Frieda Whaley, an administrative assistant at the African American Cultural Center, the event hit close to home.

“For my generation, Martin Luther King embodied everything that we wanted, everything that we were hoping to strive for,” Whaley said. “The movement has been at a standstill for the past 40 years, but it’s coming back in full force. Dr. King continues to inspire us.”

But, despite the message of hope and tolerance, the event also invoked change, with 200 orange clad members of the Beattie Elementary School community marching to protest the schools impending closure due to Poudre School District budget cuts.
“Martin Luther King Day is about people banding together in peaceful protest and standing up against injustice,” said Beattie parent Deb Tucker.

Various other events will be held for the rest of the week in honor of King, including a showing of the film “The Hidden Story of Hurricane Katrina: A Community for Change” on Thursday, and an “End of Racism” workshop on Friday.

“What inspired me about King were his messages about kindness and tolerance, and treating all people equally,” said Melinda Swinson, a volunteer at the event. “It’s something that we all ought to strive to embody.”

Assistant News Editor Allison Sylte can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 3:37 pm

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