AUSTIN, Texas — The 17th annual community march celebrating the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. will begin with a rally at the King statue on the east mall at The University of Texas at Austin at 9 a.m., Monday, Jan. 18.
"The MLK March is a powerful reminder of the work yet to be done to create an equitable society. The act of gathering is a way of saying 'Yes, I commit to making a world of justice and peace,'" said Dr. Omi Osun Joni Jones, director of the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies.
William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin, and Liam O'Rourke, president of the university's Student Government, will provide the welcome. The event will include performances by the Innervisions Gospel Choir, God's Anointed Next Generation and the winner of the MLK Oratory Contest from a local elementary school. Kyle S. Clark, founder of MasterPeace Solutions and president of the university's Black Faculty and Staff Association, also will speak. Wilhelmina Delco, former speaker pro-tem of the Texas House of Representatives, will be the grand marshal from the statue to the Capitol. The march will continue from the Capitol to Huston-Tillotson University, 900 Chicon St., where a community festival will be held.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration has drawn up to 15,000 people, according to the Austin Area Heritage Council, which coordinates events. The celebration events are sponsored by multiple community organizations, including the university's John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies and the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.
Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement, said, "We are honored to support the celebration of Dr. King's life and accomplishments. The University of Texas at Austin has gained strength from its diversity and cultural richness--much of which would not have become possible without the leadership of Dr. King so many years ago."
Free parking will be available at The University of Texas at Austin's UCFC Disch-Falk Field, the state parking garage at 12th Street and San Jacinto, and at the Holy Cross Catholic Church parking area at 1610 11th St. The 2010 celebration festivities, as well as the free parking locations, are along Capital Metro's bus routes. Capital Metro will add service on the #2 Rosewood so it can run on a 15-minute frequency from the start of service on Jan. 18 until 4 p.m. Regular Capital Metro bus fare applies.
Other activities in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day planned by the Austin Area Heritage Council include the United Way's Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service starting at Huston-Tillotson University at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 16, and the annual keynote address on Jan. 17. The keynote will feature Dr. Eric Michael Dyson and the Fisk Jubilee Singers at the Long Center. Tickets for the keynote address and more information about the events are available online.