At DPS, in Denver and across the nation, we are honoring the legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., though celebrations may look different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 36th annual Denver Marade – a march and parade – is being held virtually, and will continue long-standing traditions while adding panel discussions on civil rights supported by the Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Colorado Holiday Commission.
Students from across Colorado, including from our own East High School, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College and Denver Discovery School, participated in pre-recorded discussions in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day for the Marade. Additionally, the commission held a discussion on “Criminal Justice Transformation” with Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser and state representatives, as well as those impacted by the criminal justice system. Other speakers include Dr. James Peters, Dr. Barbara Shannon Bannister and Dr. Bishop Acen Phillips, who worked directly with Dr. King. Finally, the commission will be delivering about 5,000 people hot meals across the metro area, thanks to support from a variety of community partners.
Park Hill Elementary will continue its traditional K-1 Neighborhood Marade, inspired by Dr. King’s visit to the neighborhood in 1964. He delivered a speech to thousands crowding the streets outside the Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church before delivering a sermon to the Montview congregation. This year, the K-1 Marade will be adjusted for social distancing — students will make signs in Dr. King’s honor, and place them at Turtle Park and at Montview in front of the steps where they ordinarily would gather to sing.
The Colorado Black Roundtable will also be hosting a virtual birthday celebration from 2 – 4 p.m. The agenda includes a presentation on “Dr. King and the Urgency of Now” by Dr. Sharon Brown Bailey, DPS Senior Advisor for Equity Initiatives. There will be a panel discussion on the topic, “What Would Dr. King Say if He Were Alive Today?” Members of the community can listen in using this Zoom link.