Idaho's Universities Celebrate Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King's message is ringing clearly through higher education in Idaho. To begin, Boise State University is hosting a Day of Greatness March and Rally, 9am, Jan. 21.

Stop in for poster making in the SUB Jordan Ballroom from 9-10:30 a.m. Meet representatives from local nonprofits and sign up to volunteer for future projects.

Then at 10:40 a.m. there is a March down Capitol Blvd. followed by a rally at the statehouse. At noon the State of Idaho officially recognizes the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The speaker is Rev. Happy Watkins from New Hope Baptist Church, Spokane, WA. This is presented in part by the Idaho Commission on Human Rights.

The University of Idaho will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with an on-campus showing Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 12:30 p.m. of his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, filmed in 1963. The screening will take place in the Teaching and Learning Center, attached to the Idaho Commons, in its Student Diversity Center, room 229.

He delivered his stirring remarks on Aug. 28, 1963, before 200,000 civil rights marchers gathered at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The marchers expected to hear strong words but likely never expected King’s speech to become a part of history that still echoes in today’s culture.

“This year marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s famous ’I Have a Dream’ speech,” said Leathia Botello, program coordinator for the Office of Multicultural Affairs, which is sponsoring the event. “Many students have heard it at least once but it is important that the words never die. We have made progress in the last 50 years, but it was hard fought. We need students to be inspired and keep up this important work for the generations to come.”

The celebration will continue with “The New Faces of America,” a one-woman show about how college students live and thrive in a multicultural America. It is set for Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Building Ballroom.

The stage show is part of a groundbreaking contemporary series that examines issues relating to people all across the country. It is based on interviews and research on today’s young Americans and the issues that concern them.

“This production covers a wide range of racial, socioeconomic, sexual orientation, ability and religious issues with monologues taken from interviews of college-aged students. We hope that the individuals who attend will be open-minded to the issues covered in the performance and how will begin to explore how these issues relate to them,” said Botello.

“The New Faces of America,” presents seven different characters from seven different backgrounds. The 65- minute live show will showcase the stories of a female biracial college student, a Southern gay minister, a young female Iraq War veteran, a Native American teenager, a young migrant worker, an Appalachian college student and a deaf African-American.

The show creates a multi-media experience merging video presentations with its live performer. Following the performance, a post-show discussion will provide audience members a chance to discuss the show’s themes and issues.

The show is written and performed by Will and Company. For more information, visit

As part of Idaho State University Martin Luther King, Jr./Idaho Human Rights Day Celebrations, poetry contests will be held for elementary, middle school and high school students, and for ISU students.

This contest seeks original poems of up to 40 lines that explore the theme of this year’s celebration, "The Lessons of Dr. Martin Luther King." The contest will dovetail with the NAACP essay contest for high school-aged students.

The contest submission deadline for K-12 students is Jan. 11. The submission deadline for ISU students is Jan. 16

Submissions will be categorized by age and judged by a panel of judges.

Contest winners will be asked to read their works at the Jan. 21 Martin Luther King, Jr./Idaho Human Rights Day program at ISU, where they will be recognized and presented with a certificate in honor of their achievement. Poems will be published online through the ISU Diversity Resource Center website at

For more information on the contest contact Kelly Meyer at Submissions will be accepted via email at They can also be mailed to ISU Diversity Resource Center, 921 S. Eighth Ave., Stop 8315, Pocatello, Idaho, 83209-8315.

K-12 entries should include the author's name, age, school and contact information. ISU students need to include their name, major, hometown and contact information.

For more information, contact the ISU Diversity Resource Center, 282-3964.

"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle," said King. That is why I am pleased that Idaho's universities continue to keep his message alive.