Carrying out the dream: MLK Jr. Day March attracts 1,500 people

Isaiah Dennings

Nearly 52 years after his assassination, Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy continue to be honored, revered and celebrated by people from various walks of life, including Fort Collins community members: an estimated 1,500 of whom gathered in Old Town Square Monday to march on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

Malik Burton, left, and Adrian Jones, right, lead the Martin Luther King Jr. Day March from the Old Town Square to the Lory Student Center. (Matt Tackett | The Collegian)

The march, which proceeded to the Lory Student Center from Old Town and was blocked off and guarded by Fort Collins Police officers, was organized by the Black/African American Cultural Center and spearheaded by Malik Burton and Adrian Jones. 

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“I just like to help out wherever I can because my Black identity is very important to me,” said Burton, a second-year Colorado State University graduate student studying student affairs in higher education. “We need to take this day to remember holistic healing and the fight against injustice.”

Burton led the beginning of the march by giving a speech aimed at highlighting the “systemic injustices that disproportionately affect people of color,” Burton said. 

Jones, a graduate student with a degree in social work and a full-time student development and retention coordinator for BAACC, led the procession in singing “We Shall Overcome” after Burton’s speech and teamed up with Burton to lead the march from Old Town to the LSC. 

Our goal was to use this day not only to honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream but to carry out the effort to produce equity, not only with race but fortune.” -Adrian Jones, student development and retention coordinator, BAACC

Jones was also responsible for a community service project that took place in the BAACC office at 9 a.m. before the march. The service project involved 100 volunteers aimed at helping the homeless community in Fort Collins.

Attendees of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day March hold signs while listening to a speaker before walking from the Old Town Square to the Lory Student Center Jan. 20. (Matt Tackett | The Collegian)

“Our goal was to use this day not only to honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream but to carry out the effort to produce equity, not only with race but fortune,” Jones said. 

The event turned into a celebration after the procession moved from College Avenue to Laurel Street and situated in the LSC. The celebration featured speeches, music, dance, spoken word poetry and even an MLK cake to thank participants. 

Ryan Ross, the associate vice chancellor for student affairs, equity and inclusion for the Colorado Community College System, delivered a speech in the LSC Main Ballroom. 

“Don’t you think we owe it to ourselves — to Dr. King Jr. — to finally fully realize the dream?” Ross asked.

Ross pushed an agenda to go above and beyond the current state of equity, centering on the message that society simply preserving the dream of King is not enough.

“Preservation is merely potential,” Ross said. “Now is the time to act on that potential.” 

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Associate Vice Chancellor for student affairs, equity and inclusion for the Colorado Community College System Ryan Ross reads from a binder before giving his keynote speech at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration Program. (Matt Tackett | The Collegian)

Hannah McKee, a CSU senior equine science major, was one participant in the march and event. 

“Even though none of my friends are here with me today, I knew I had to come for myself, especially now,” McKee said.  

Ashton Galyean, a first-year languages, literatures and cultures major at CSU, explained why they attended the event too.

“We must fight for our freedom and for these words of Martin Luther King’s to be true,” Galyean said.

Anthony Rodriguez, the marketing director with Front Range Community College student government, also came out to march.

“I love the involvement that it has and how it brings people together, and I love being a part of this,” Rodriguez said.

I want to thank all of you for participating in this phenomenally important movement and event where we bear witness to the work of Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy.” -Joyce McConnell, CSU president

Colorado State University President Joyce McConnell makes the opening remarks at the Martin Luther King Jr. “Preservation and Manifestation” March and Celebration in the Lory Student Center ballroom on Jan. 20. (Gregory James | The Collegian)

And Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell showed up to the event as well. 

Troxell said he makes it an annual event to come out to the march. This year’s march was the sixth time he attended. 

“I think it’s important to show leadership and participate in community-wide events,” Troxell said. “Equity and inclusion is Council priority.” 

CSU President Joyce McConnell, who joined in the march, thanked attendees during a statement she made at the celebration. 

“I want to thank all of you for participating in this phenomenally important movement and event where we bear witness to the work of Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy,” McConnell said.

 

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  • Dr. Ryan Ross speaks to a packed room in the LSC ballroom on Jan 20 about the legacy of Dr. King and how to not “Defer the Dream” any longer. Dr. Ross was the keynote speaker at the celebration held in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Gregory James | The Collegian)

  • Attendees of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day march hold signs before walking from the Old Town Square to the Lory Student Center. (Matt Tackett | The Collegian)

  • Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Equity and Inclusion for the Colorado Community College System Dr. Ryan Ross reads from a binder before giving his keynote speech at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day “Preservation to Manifestation” Celebration Program. (Matt Tackett | The Collegian)

  • Everly and Thea McCollum hold signs at the start of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day march from the Old Town Square to the Lory Student Center. (Matt Tackett | The Collegian)

  • Malik Burton and Adrian Jones lead the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day march from the Old Town Square to the Lory Student Center. (Matt Tackett | The Collegian)

  • Colorado State University president Joyce McConell makes the opening remarks at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Preservation and Manifestation march and celebration” in the LSC ball room on Jan 20. (Gregory James | The Collegian)

  • Paula Yuma (left), Paloma (center) and Jane (right) put together toiletry kits while volunteering as part of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Toiletry Drive in the Lory Student Center in partner with Homeward Alliance Jan. 20. (Matt Tackett | The Collegian)

  • Vice President for Student Affairs Blanche Hughes and other attendees of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day listen to speakers before marching from the Old Town Square to the Lory Student Center Jan. 20. (Matt Tackett | The Collegian)

  • Lamar Arrintton listens to Malik Burton speak before the start of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day march from the Old Town Square to the Lory Student Center. (Matt Tackett | The Collegian)

  • Mark Gluckstern holds a sign at the start of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day march from the Old Town Square to the Lory Student Center. (Matt Tackett | The Collegian)

  • Jerry Bimka hands out bags for toiletry kits while volunteering as part of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Toiletry Drive in the Lory Student Center. (Matt Tackett | The Collegian)

  • Malik Burton speaks before the start of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day march from the Old Town Square to the Lory Student Center. (Matt Tackett | The Collegian)

  • Members of the Fort Collins community gather downtown for a march to the Colorado State University Lory Student Center in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (Brooke Buchan | The Collegian)

    Collegian | Brooke Buchan 2019

  • Malik Burton speaks before the start of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day march from the Old Town Square to the Lory Student Center. (Matt Tackett | The Collegian)

  • Attendees of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day march hold signs while listening to a speaker before walking from the Old Town Square to the Lory Student Center Jan. 20. (Matt Tackett | The Collegian)

  • Sophia Inda and Ana Scott write Valentines cards for the Fort Collins Senior Center while volunteering as part of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Toiletry Drive in the Lory Student Center. (Matt Tackett | The Collegian)

  • Debbie Williams sings spirtual song “Steal Away to Jesus” on Jan. 20 in the Lory Student Center ballroom. Williams was one of several performers at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day “Preservation to Manifestation” Celebration Program . (Gregory James | The Collegian)

  • Attendees of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day march hold signs before walking from the Old Town Square to the Lory Student Center. (Matt Tackett | The Collegian)

  • Gavin Ross, son of keynote speaker Dr. Ryan Ross, hypes up the crowd prior to his dad’s speech with an original rap song in the LSC ballroom on Jan 20. (Gregory James | The Collegian)

  • Lory Student Center Program Coordinator, Ali Raza, speaks at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. downtown march Monday, Jan. 20. (Brooke Buchan | The Collegian)

    Collegian | Brooke Buchan 2019

  • Members of the Fort Collins community gather downtown for a march to the Colorado State University Lory Student Center in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (Brooke Buchan | The Collegian)

    Collegian | Brooke Buchan 2019

  • University of Northern Colorado Sociology student, Amber Goldstedt, and her son Jackson participate in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day march in downtown Fort Collins. “I want my son to experience being supportive in the community,” Goldstedt said. (Brooke Buchan | The Collegian)

    Collegian | Brooke Buchan 2019

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Isaiah Dennings can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @isaiah_dennings