|On January 17, jacketed crowds with many children mounted on shoulders looking out over the sea of attendees, gathered at the Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have a Dream” Monument in City Park for the 37th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Marade. Vern Howard is the Chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission. The theme for this year’s Marade was “The Security of Justice.”
The program featured many speakers addressing the enduring power of Dr. King’s legacy. Colorado Senators Michael Bennett and John Hickenlooper were among those who spoke with passion about the need to reinforce the 1964 and the 1965 Civil Rights Acts and to continue to fight for the right of every U.S. citizen to vote and to push back against any form of voter suppression. Mayor Wellington Webb and his wife, Wilma were particularly eloquent. Mayor Webb spoke about the challenges his wife faced as she fought for years to establish Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a holiday in Colorado – before it was celebrated nationally. “She was told she would never succeed for three reasons,” he said. “Number one, no one would vote for it; number two, she was a woman; number three, she was black.” But Wilma Webb persevered. As a Colorado state representative and after three unsuccessful tries, she finally won adoption of the bill that established the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Colorado in 1984. In the speech she made following her husband’s, Wilma Webb made it clear the fight goes on and that she, for one, will be there to secure the world of peace, justice, compassion and dignity that Dr. King envisioned.
Following the program, attendees proceeded along the Esplanade to East Colfax and marched to Civic Center Park where a few hours of entertainment, awards and celebration took place.