The COVID-19 pandemic has largely pushed planned celebrations of Martin Luther King Jr. Day online this weekend. But while there will be no community-wide marches, there are plenty of other ways to take part — safely and socially distant — in Fort Collins and beyond.
A range of local activities — from a virtual candlelight vigil to a tour of Fort Collins locations central to Black history in the city — have been put together through a partnership between Colorado State University, the city of Fort Collins and other community organizations with coordination from CSU’s Black/African American Cultural Center (BACC).
This year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration theme is “Where Do We Go From Here?”
Here are some ideas for celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day and honoring the civil rights leader next week in Fort Collins.
For more information, and a full list of planned events, head to lsc.colostate.edu.
Tune in to a virtual storytime
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Poudre River Public Library District is dedicating its next Phone-a-Story virtual storytime to the civil rights leader’s life. The program allows families to call the story line (970-829-1301) each week and hear library storytellers read new children’s stories. Stories are available in English, Spanish and French. For Martin Luther King Jr. Day, featured stories through the phone system will include “This Little Dreamer” and “The Story of Martin Luther King Jr.” You can also tune into the library district’s YouTube channel, which will have virtual storytimes Monday featuring readings of “I Am Martin Luther King Jr.” and “Be a King.”
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Explore Black history in Fort Collins
Have you ever heard of Charley Clay? How about Isaac and Lettie Burnsides? These were just a few of the pioneers who made up the small but vibrant Black community in early Fort Collins, which dates back as far as 1865 when Clay arrived at what was then Camp Collins in present-day Laporte. Learn about these Colorado pioneers, the discrimination they faced, the paths they paved, and the still-standing homes and structures where they lived and worked in Fort Collins. Visit fcgov.com/historicpreservation/blackfortcollins for information on Black history in Fort Collins, as well as a map featuring important Fort Collins locations associated with Black history between 1880 and 1970.
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Take part in a candlelight vigil
The city of Fort Collins will host a virtual candlelight vigil to honor King on Monday evening. Individuals across Fort Collins are encouraged to set out luminaries near their homes and in locations central to Black history in Fort Collins. To request free luminary materials, contact the city’s Neighborhood Services department at NSPrograms@fcgov.com.
Take the Be Active challenge
In honor of King and his supporters’ five-day, 50-mile march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965, individuals in Fort Collins are encouraged to complete five to 50 miles (or hours) of cycling, swimming, walking running, reading, meditation or any other activity through Jan. 22. Commit to your activity by filling out this online form at lsc.colostate.edu and share the results of your challenge on social media with the hashtag #FOCOMLK2021.
Watch this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration video
Tune in to a special video celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, featuring a song, dance, spoken-word performance by Jasmine Retland and remarks from CSU President Joyce McConnell, Front Range Community College President Andrew Dorsey, Interim PSD Superintendent Todd Lambert and Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell. The video will post at noon Monday on lsc.colostate.edu.
(Virtually) attend this More than Music live show
The Fort Collins community is invited to celebrate King’s legacy by tuning in to a live Zoom performance of “At the Table with Dr. King,” a show melding music, poetry and historical video footage to teach people about the American Civil Rights movement, equality and respect. The show will be performed by the group More than Music and will take place from 11 a.m. to noon Friday, Jan. 22. Spots are limited and online registration is required.
Erin Udell reports on news, culture, history and more for the Coloradoan. Contact her at ErinUdell@coloradoan.com. The only way she can keep doing what she does is with your support. If you subscribe, thank you. If not, sign up for a digital subscription to the Coloradoan today.