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MLK Day - Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 14, 2012
By Jeryse Kelly

"This is not a black holiday; it is a people's holiday," said Coretta Scott King after President Ronald Reagan signed the King Holiday Bill into law on Nov. 2, 1983. But in the complicated history of Martin Luther King, Jr Day, it has only recently been a holiday for all the people, all the time.

Fifteen years earlier, on April 4, 1968, Mrs. King had lost her husband, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to an assassin's bullet. In the months after the death of the civil rights icon, Congressman John Conyers Jr. of Michigan introduced the first legislation seeking to make King's birthday, Jan. 15, a federal holiday. The King Memorial Center in Atlanta was founded around the same time, and it sponsored the first annual observance of King's birthday, in January 1969, almost a decade and a half before it became an official government-sanctioned holiday.

President Reagan signed the bill into law in November 1983 and the first official holiday was observed on the third Monday of January 1986.

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Below is a listing of some events happening to celebrate MLK Day.

In Tempe, on Monday, Janyuary 16th, there is the MLK Diversity Awards at the Buttes Resort.  Different community groups are given this award each year.  The Tempe Girl Scout neighborhood won this award in

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They also sponsor a diversity walk, February 4th, 2012.  I have taken my Girl Scout troop to march in this walk many years.  It is fun and relatively painless.  There are 4 starting points for the 4 different areas of the East Valley.  They give each starting point a different color t-shirt.  When all the t-shirts come together for the last leg of the walk it looks really cool.  The end the walk with a short festival at the Tempe Public Library complex.

In Mesa, January 16th, there is the parade and festival.  The parade starts at University and Center and continues to the Mesa Arts Center.  My family has gone to this festival for many years.  They have good entertainment and yummy food.  It makes for a nice, educational and fun afternoon.

Chandler is having a Celebration of Unity on Saturday, January 14th.

Get out and do something fun and inspirational this weekend.  Keep Dr. King's dream alive.   Here is a link to his speech.  Listen to it, play for your kids, remember where we have been so that we don't go back to that way of living.

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