The 21st annual community march celebrating the life of Martin Luther King Jr. will begin with a rally at the MLK Jr. Statue on the East Mall at The University of Texas at Austin at 9 a.m. on Jan. 20. The theme for this year is "Dream Even Further."
"We are honored to welcome community members, faculty, staff and students as they begin the annual march from the university to the state Capitol and on to Huston-Tillotson University," said Gregory J. Vincent, UT Austin's vice president for diversity and community engagement. "The march is a reminder of the tremendous efforts and personal sacrifices of those in the civil rights movement, and we hope it reminds participants there is still much work to be done in the civil rights arena."
Bill Powers, president of The University of Texas at Austin, will provide the welcome; and Edmund T. Gordon, chairman of the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies and associate professor of AADS, will speak.
The event will include performances by the Innervisions Gospel Choir and the elementary school winner of the MLK Oratory Contest responding to "As a student of Dr. King's life, what message of hope do you think he would have for the world today?"
The Honorable Wilhelmina Delco will be the honorary grand marshal as marchers proceed from the MLK Jr. Statue to the Capitol, where the Sweet Home Baptist Church Choir, the Huston-Tillotson Gospel Choir, the Ladies of Distinction and the LBJ High School Dance Team will perform. The march will continue from the Capitol to Huston-Tillotson University, 900 Chicon St., where a community festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The festival will feature performances by Les and the Funk Mob, Ugly Elephant and the Huston-Tillotson Jazz Band.
This year, marchers are being asked to bring canned goods or nonperishable food items to be donated to the Capital Area Food Bank. Bins are available at each location.
The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration has previously drawn up to 15,000 people, according to the Austin Area Heritage Council, which coordinates the events. The celebration events are sponsored by multiple community organizations, including the university's Department of African and African Diaspora Studies.
Free parking for the march is available at UFCU Disch-Falk Field (1300 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.), State Visitors Garage (corner of 12th St.and San Jacinto Blvd. downtown Austin), Kealing Middle School (1607 Pennsylvania Ave.), Holy Cross Catholic Church (1610 E. 11th St.), Blackshear Elementary School (1712 E. 11th St.), Greater Mount Zion Baptist Church (1801 Pennsylvania Ave.), Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church (1206 E. Ninth St.) and Mt. Olive Baptist Church (1800 E. 11th St.).
For more information about this year's events, visit the website www.mlkcelebration.com