Fort Collins community celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Eleonora Yurkevich

Video by Eleonora Yurkevich. Speakers in the video: Pastor David Wallace, CSU President Tony Frank, Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell.

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Fort Collins community members gathered in Old Town Square to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The welcome speech by Pastor David Williams was followed by a march to the Colorado State University Lory Student Center. Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell and CSU President Tony Frank spoke at the event.

In Old Town Square, Williams delivered a message of hope and higher aspiration.

“This is an age at which you will be forced to compete with people of all races and nationalities. You cannot merely aim to be a good teacher, a good doctor, or a good worker. You must set out to do a good job irrespective of race and persecution,” Williams said, quoting King.

At the same time, Williams highlighted persisting discrimination in society.

People gather at Old Town Square in Fort Collins to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (Photo credit: Eleonora Yurkevich.)
People gather at Old Town Square in Fort Collins to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (Photo credit: Eleonora Yurkevich.)

Nearly 48 years since the assassination of King, many share Williams’ concerns and believe that a lot more can be done to cultivate equality.

“If King was able to see the world we live in today, he would probably say ‘that his work isn’t done,'” said event volunteer Rachel Telljohn. “But, I think that’s why we’re all out here today.”

Others agree that many continue to face discrimination, but acknowledge the progress that has been made.

“There’s still a lot of racism going around in the world,” said Jasmine Chesson, a junior at Fort Collins High School. “(Today) African Americans actually have a voice … they get to stand up for their rights.”

Frank said that, today, racism “persists under names such as ‘routine.'”

“It hides behind the technical,” he said. “Sometimes it even has the audacity to present itself wrapped in the guise of fairness.”

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He offered some insight into ways people can strip racism of these disguises.

“How do we take up our responsibility to act?” he said. “This begins with facing racism in ourselves. (By) having the moral courage to admit and confront our own prejudices.”

Troxell proclaimed January 18, 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Observation and Commemorative March Day in Fort Collins.

Collegian Reporter Eleonora Yurkevich can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @EleonoraWriter.