Martin Luther King Day celebration unites Fort Collins

Over sixty years ago, Melba Logan and Betty Anne Medina were at CSU while civil rights activists fought for racial equality. Today, they are marching in the Martin Luther King Jr. community march to continue to promote the fight.

“Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy is what I believe and we need to carry that out,” Medina said.

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Medina remembered what it was like being on campus in the 60s when the civil rights movement was in full swing.

“It was awful (before the movement), it was horrible,” Medina said. “There was a lot of injustice, and going to CSU there were sit ins and protests.”

Today, though progress has been made since King’s time, both women believe that there is still a lot to do before full equality is reached.

Logan recalls a time in the 90s when she was still experiencing racism towards her for her skin color. She remembered when she tried to buy a house in Wyoming in 1996 and recieved threatening hate mail for moving into the neighborhood.

“Sometimes I think things have changed, but we have a long way to go,” Logan said.

Logan walked alongside thousands of other CSU students, faculty and Fort Collins residents in the march, orchestrated by the Martin Luther King Jr. Day committee.

Every year the committee organizes a march through the community, starting in Old Town Square and ending at the UCA, followed by a celebration in the theater.

“Historically the walk is a symbolic event, the march has happened for 30 years,” said event coordinator Lance Wright. “We adjusted (the celebration) from a keynote speaker to kids in Poudre Valley School District to read poetry was a great way to honor and hear young voices.”

After the march, participants gathered at the UCA for a presentation honoring Dr. King and equality. This year, a special choir was formed to sing at the celebration.

The celebration also featured Poudre Valley students who won the Martin Luther King Jr. writing or drawing contest, a Native American drum circle, and a spoken word.

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For nine year old Abby Zachman and her mom Jennifer, participating in the Martin Luther King Jr. walk represents bringing everyone together towards acceptance.

“I think [Martin Luther King Jr. Day] is good,” Abby said. “Then we can be friends with everyone.”

Collegian Campus Beat Reporter Taylor Pettaway can be reached at news@collegian.com.