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Arizona To Mark 20 Years

Of Celebrating MLK Day

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Dr. Martin Luther King .
After Years Of Trials And Tribulations Attempting To Secure Holiday, State Will Mark Two Decades Of Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King


By Staff
Modern Times Magazine

Jan. 19, 2013 — From Bruce Babbitt to Jan Brewer, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and a state holiday in his honor has been a clarion call of hope to many.

But the path to a state recognized holiday in support of MLK was a rocky one.

Bruce Babbitt’s declaration was soon rescinded by newly elected — and soon to be impeached — Gov. Evan Mecham. Two failed ballot propositions later, advocates finally partnered with business owners who did not want to lose another Super Bowl and in January 1993, nearly 20,000 celebrated on the streets of downtown Phoenix.

Stevie Wonder was even there.

Twenty years later and a significantly smaller crowd is expected to be on hand for the march. Around the Valley of the Sun, though, a slew of events will recognize the 1960s civil rights movement and the vision of MLK.

January 18 to 31

Arizona State University is sponsoring a poster-essay contest for schoolchildren from throughout the state. Entries will be on display at the Tempe campus Memorial Union, the Student Union at ASU Polytechnic, and online. For more information, visit

January 19

Phoenix College NAACP/Black Student Union is presenting an all-day event, MLK Youth Celebration "A World of Diversity: One Dream" beginning at 9 a.m. Phoenix College, 1202 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix. Activitites will include workshops and enrichment, youth networking, educational displays and entertainment. For more information, contact Billy Ramsey at 602-435-7411.

From 11 a.m.  to 4 p.m. the city of Chandler will host its 18th Multicultural Festival at the Chandler Public Library Courtyard, 22 S. Delaware Street. This free event features music, dance, art, a storytelling children’s area, and more. For more information, visit

A dinner banquet will be held beginning at 7 p.m. at the Windemere Hotel & Conference Center, 5750 E. Main Street, Mesa. The featured speaker will be former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Sandra Kennedy. Tickets are $45. Registration begins at 5:15 and the reception begins at 6 p.m. For more information, visit

January 20

DRUMLine Live, an international tour based on the Historically Black College and University marching band tradition, will appear beginning at 7 p.m., Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave. Ticket prices are: $38, $42 and $46. For more information, visit or call 480-782-2680.

January 21

ASU’s celebration of the civil-rights leader’s life is augmented by community members wanting to get involved by serving on a service project with the Tiger Mountain Foundation, Sojourner Center or Teleos Prep Academy. Refreshments and transportation are available. For more information, visit or call 480-965-9600.

Judge Cody Williams will be the keynote speaker at the city of Tempe’s MLK Diversity Awards Brunch, beginning at 9 a.m. at The Buttes Resort, 2000 Westcourt Way, Tempe. Honored will be Normalicia Blanco, Ira King, Hector and Genie Zavaleta, Nic Atkins, Julieta Desrosiers, Jan O’Malley, Elizabeth Whitesell, All God’s Children Collector’s Club of AZ, Tempe Gay/Straight Alliance, Tempe High School Stand and Serve Club. This event is already sold out, but it will be filmed and replayed throughout the month on Tempe’s Channel 11.

The downtown Phoenix march and festival will begin at 9 a.m. at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, 1401 E. Jefferson Street, Phoenix. The festival is expected to begin at 10 a.m. at Margaret T. Hance Park, Third Street and Moreland. The festival will feature local artists and craftsmen, guest speakers, a re-enactment of Dr. King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech, dancers, singers and activities for the whole family. For more information, visit

Some of the best high school boys and girls teams will participate in the Basketball Classic, beginning at 11 a.m. and continuing until 8 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena, 600 E. Veterans Way, Tempe. For more information, visit or email to

The downtown Mesa parade and festival will begin at 11 a.m. at the Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St., Mesa. The day-long celebration will include marching bands, Mesa Police and Fire Departments, community members, and politicians. For more information, visit

A family picnic celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. at Redemption Church 1820 W. Elliot Road, Gilbert. This event will feature live music, food, speakers, art competition, and more. For more information, visit

January 24

A student rally will be held on the Tempe campus of Arizona State University from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the north stage in the Memorial Union. The event will feature a talk by the 2013 Student Servant-Leadership Award winner, presentations and cultural performances by ASU students. For more information, visit or call 480-965-6601.

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