This state came late to the national observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day -- Monday, January 17, this year -- but now that we participate, there's no shortage of events. Here are a few of the Valley's celebrations:
ASU West hosts its annual MLK Celebration Week this year with the theme "Beyond the Dream: Building Communities Through Servant-Leadership." It kicks off with a continental breakfast (and food drive for the Westside Food Bank) from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, January 18, at the University Center, La Sala; a Student Activities Fair, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 18, in the Delph Courtyard; a "Diversity Cinema Film Festival" from Tuesday, January 18, through Friday, January 21, in the second floor student lounge of the University Center Building (call 602-543-6381 for details); an ASU West Day of Unity with various fun activities from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, January 19; a re-enactment, by Charles St. Clair, of the "I Have a Dream" speech at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, January 20; an "MLK Celebration of Service," with representatives from numerous Valley-area service organizations, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, January 20, in the Delph Courtyard; and performances by the Essential Theater at noon and at 7 p.m. Friday, January 21, in the Kiva Hall Auditorium. Admission to all events is free. Call 602-543-4502 for more information.
A lecture by Dr. Keith Miller, titled "'I Have a Dream' As an African-American Ceremony," explores the speech's relationship to ceremonial tradition. It's scheduled as part of the "Thursday Lunch Talk" series, from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, January 20, in the first-floor lecture room at the Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 North Central. Admission is free; attendees may bring a lunch. Call 602-543-0604 for more information.
An interfaith candlelight service, with music by local choirs, in memory of Dr. King is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday, January 14, at Trinity Baptist Church, 2130 East University in Mesa. It's free and all are welcome.
"MLK Breakfast 2000," featuring keynote speaker Mary Frances Berry, chairperson of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought at the University of Pennsylvania, is scheduled from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Monday, January 17, at the Mesa Community Center Centennial Hall, 201 North Center. Grant Woods is the master of ceremonies. The cost is $25 per person, $200 for a table of eight. Call 480-644-5040 or 480-833-1423 for reservations and details.
An MLK parade is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday, January 17, starting at Hibbert and First Street and ending at Mesa Community Center Plaza, 201 North Center.
"MLK Festival 2000" follows from noon to 3 p.m. Monday, January 17, at Mesa Community Center Plaza. Music, entertainment, food booths, vendors and other fun are featured. Admission is free. For details call 480-964-0938 or 480-964-5167.
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The city hosts a "Unity Walk," starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, January 15, from any of five points (Daley Park, Hollis Park, Joyce Park, Meyer Park and Scudder Park) and converging at the Tempe Public Library Complex, 3500 South Rural (on the southwest corner of Rural and Southern). Yolanda King, MLK's daughter, will participate in the walk and then deliver the opening remarks at the community celebration "Together We're Better." The celebration then continues, with entertainment, food vendors and the like, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Library Complex. Call 602-350-8996 for details.
The City of Tempe's Human Relations Commission's Diversity Awards Dinner starts at 6 p.m. Saturday, January 15, at the Buttes Resort, 2000 Westcourt Way. Yolanda King is the keynote speaker. Tickets are $60, $500 for a table of 10. For details call 480-350-8422.