How Idahoans celebrated Martin Luther King Day

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Hundreds walked Capitol Blvd. to the Statehouse in Boise Monday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. | Lynzsea Williams, KIVI

IDAHO FALLS – It’s been 60 years since Martin Luther King, Jr. called on Americans to lay down their differences with one of “the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.”

Generations have grown up hearing about his words. Many are familiar with portions of that speech, including the oft-quoted line,

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” King told a crowd of more than 200,000 demonstrators gathered in the nation’s capitol on Aug. 28, 1963.

Jan. 16, 2023, also marks King’s 94th birthday.

The campaign for a holiday in King’s honor began soon after his assassination in 1968, but it would be another 15 years before it became a federal holiday. The first nationwide observance didn’t occur until Jan. 20, 1986.

In January 2006, then Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne designated the same day Human Rights Day for residents of the Gem State.

mlk pic
Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. | Wikipedia

Here’s how people across Idaho chose to commemorate the occasion.

Idaho Capitol

The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day/Idaho Human Rights Day event was held at the Idaho Capitol on Monday.

It began with a march from the Boise State University Student Union to the Capitol steps and featured Cherie Buckner-Webb, the first black person to serve in the Idaho Legislature, as the keynote speaker. Lt. Gov. Scott Bedke was also present.

“Though it’s nice to have a day to recognize (King) specifically, this should be an everyday thing. We don’t have to march everyday, but where there’s change to be promoted, we should promote it. We should work for it every single day,” said Jason Holman, President of the Black Student Association at Boise State University.

Other highlights included performances by the Boise State University trumpeters, Ballet Folklórico México Lindo — a community-based Mexican folk dance group in Nampa — and Danza Azteca Tonatiuh.

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Idaho State University

The Idaho State University Diversity Resource Center began its festivities with a march from Holt Arena to the Stephen’s Performing Arts Center. A program was held at the center immediately following, which consisted of music and reflections on Dr. King’s legacy.

The keynote speaker was ISU Alumnus and current Assistant Track and Field coach Treyshon Malone. ISU President Kevin Satterlee and Associate Students President Zandrew Webb also gave some remarks.

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