Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Traditional MLK celebration promises a historic ending

For this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, DU organizers scaled back the traditional number of programs, partnering more with outside organizations in an effort to celebrate with the entire Denver community, says Tracey Peters, director of the Center for Multicultural Excellence.

This year’s celebration promises to be both traditional and memorable.

As in years past, the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Marade — now in its 24th year — will highlight the celebration. Each year DU students, faculty and staff march in the Marade, which proceeds from City Park to Civic Center Park.

“The dedication of the DU community to the passion and philosophy of Dr. King is exhibited by their willingness to brave subzero temperatures year after year. It’s a testament to their commitment to furthering his dream,” Peters says.

For many, the defining moment of this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday will come after the official celebration, when Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States on Tuesday, Jan. 20.

To commemorate the event, an inauguration watch party has been organized for members of the DU community at the International House from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Peters says that the party is more than a simple gathering to watch an obligatory right of passage, “it is celebrating a country who, less than 50 years ago, had laws on the books prohibiting African Americans and whites to occupy the same space.”

And although Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been celebrated as a national holiday for 23 years and the nation will see its first African-American president sworn into office on Tuesday, Peters cautions: “We must remember that as much work as we have done, we still have a lot more work to do.”

Martin Luther King Jr. holiday events in Denver include:

Friday, Jan. 16
•    18th Annual MLK Peace Awards & Breakfast. Tivoli Turn Halle, Auraria Campus. 8:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
•    The Spirituals Project, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 80th Birthday Concert. Ellie Calkins Opera House. 7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 17
•    Community Meet & Greet. M & D’s Original Family Bar-B-Q. 4:30 p.m.–6 p.m.
•    Colorado Black Student Alliance Denver Nuggets Night. Pepsi Center. 7 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 19
•    24th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Marade. City Park to Civic Center Park. 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
•    African American Invitation Rodeo. Denver Coliseum. 6 p.m.–10 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 20
•    President-Elect Obama’s Inauguration Celebration. International House. 7 a.m.–3 p.m.
•    “Yes I Can…With God’s Help” panel. Nelson Private Dining Room. 4:30 p.m.–6 p.m.

View a complete list of Denver-area events.

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