Breakfasts, rallies to mark Martin Luther King holidayby Anissa Stocks, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A breakfast, rally, march and information fair are among the events to be held in Minnesota on Monday, 25 years after a federal holiday was established to remember Martin Luther King Jr.
Event coordinators said Minnesotans have celebrated King's legacy since before the holiday was established, and many of the events being held Monday are annual traditions.
"It's a grassroots and community message that transcends a sometimes hidden hatred or prejudice," said Lester Collins, chairman of the Council on Black Minnesotans.
Collins said Minneapolis and St. Paul have some of the largest events in the country each year.
"The Twin Cities are vibrant communities that welcome reflection," he said.
The commission assigned to plan events for the King holiday will host a program in St. Paul that includes a rally and march. Robin Hickman, president of SoulTouch, a media company that has worked with black women and girls, will speak at the event.
The event's theme this year -- "Unarmed Truth" -- was taken from an excerpt of King's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in 1964.
More than 2,500 people are expected to attend the event, which Collins said will address some of the challenges people face today.
"People, no matter color, are experiencing some of the hardest times in decades," he said. "The event raises reflection, conversation and hope for our present situations -- whether economic, social or health related."
In Minneapolis, Newark Mayor Cory Booker will speak at the 21st annual MLK breakfast at the Minneapolis Convention Center. A career fair will also take place there.
United Negro College Fund President Michael Lomax will be the other speaker at the breakfast, which is sponsored by the General Mills Foundation and the United Negro College Fund.
Maerenn Jepsen of the General Mills Foundation said the event is expected to draw about 2,000 people from across the state.
She said Booker and Lomax share a passion for social transformation and education that reflect King's vision.
Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Al Franken are expected to attend events throughout the metro area.
Here is a list of some of the events marking the holiday statewide:
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast featuring keynote speaker Cory Booker. 7 a.m., Minneapolis Convention Center.
-- Regional Diversity Job Fair, where job seekers can meet with local and national hiring managers. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Room 101, Minneapolis Convention Center.
-- Minneapolis Community and Technical College breakfast and volunteer event featuring Tyrone Bledsoe, founder of the Student African American Brotherhood. Breakfast: 7:30 a.m. Volunteer events: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
-- Augsburg College will welcome a performance of "Five Feet Four Inches Forward," an original play by Sarah Meyers, as part of its 23rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation. 1 p.m., Hoversten Chapel.
-- "I Have a Dream" film viewing. Showing every hour from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., StarDome Room, Brookdale Library.
-- Celebrations at Powderhorn, Whittier and Martin Luther King parks with activities, performances, music and refreshments. Powderhorn: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Whittier: 1-3 p.m. Martin Luther King: 6-7 p.m.
-- Martin Luther King Jr. holiday rally, march and program. Rally begins at 9:30 a.m. in Saint Paul Central High School Auditorium. March starts at 10:35 a.m. at the school and ends at Gangelhoff Center at Concordia University. Program from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. features keynote speaker Robin Hickman. It also includes a historical exhibit, musical, dance, spoken-word and poetry performances. Elected officials are scheduled to attend.
-- Education Fair. 1-3 p.m., Gangelhoff Center at Concordia University.
-- "History HiJinx" art activity where guests create luminaries with messages that reflect mutual respect, tolerance and understanding. Noon to 4 p.m., Minnesota History Center.
-- Free Community Breakfast with broadcast of Cory Booker's speech in Minneapolis. 7 a.m., First United Methodist Church, 230 Skyline Parkway.
-- March from Washington Center to the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center, where a rally will be held. March begins at 10:30 a.m. and rally starts at 11:45 a.m.
-- Gustavus Adolphus College hosts public lecture featuring the Rev. Bernard LaFayette Jr., a civil rights leader who organized the Nashville sit-ins in 1960 and the Freedom Rides in 1961. 10:20 a.m., Christ Chapel.
-- The Mixed Blood Theatre performs "African America," a look at the modern African Diasporas in Minnesota. 7 p.m., Alumni Hall, O.J. Johnson Student Union at Gustavus Adolphus.