by Pia K. Hansen
In the mood for an anti-war rally? A march through downtown? A performance about Rosa Parks? It doesn't matter how you'd prefer to remember Dr. Martin Luther King this Monday -- there are events scheduled across the region for every taste.
On Sunday, Jan. 19, the remembrance program starts at Spokane Community College on Greene Street, with local community leader Dorothy Webster as keynote speaker.
"I will try to remember and convey what it was like growing up in the South while Dr. King was active," says Webster, "and also talk about the things we need to do make his philosophy a reality."
Webster grew up in Alabama. Today she works as the director of administrative services for the City of Spokane.
"We are all part of the dream of Martin Luther King, and our celebration is for all races, all cultures, all religions and all people," says Bernice Buchanan, one of the celebration organizers.
The traditional Unity March begins at 10:30 am on Monday, Jan. 20, on the corner of Main and Post. A big part of Martin Luther King's philosophy is community involvement -- remember, it's not a day off, it's a day a day on. So to help attract volunteers, a Community Resource Fair will be held at River Park Square beginning Monday at 9:30 am.
"There will be more than 70 non-profits there," says Mary Mapes, director of the United Way volunteer center and coordinator of the fair. "This is a place where people can get services or give services."
Organizations as diverse as the American Diabetes Association, the Spokane County Green Party, COPS and Planned Parenthood are going to have informational booths in place all day, through 3 pm.
"We also have nine community programs scheduled that people can sign up for at the fair," says Mapes.
North Idaho College together with the Kootenai Task Force on Human Relations and the Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls school districts are -- for the 18th year in a row -- holding programs for schoolchildren on Friday, Jan. 17.
"We'll have 1,200 fifth-grade students at NIC doing programs they have worked on since September," says Tony Stewart of NIC's political science department. "Every year the Task Force brings in a person to spend the week here. This year it's Patrick Dunning of Dublin, Ireland, who's presenting his signature project." Dunning's goals are to create a digital tapestry teaching the importance of human rights and to gather signatures from his audiences. Dunning is doing a public presentation on Friday at 7 pm at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Coeur d'Alene. (208-769-3325)
Eastern Washington University will be closed on Monday, Jan. 20, but the following day, Dr. Scott Finnie of the African American Education Program will facilitate a discussion titled, "Is the Question Still Race?" at noon in Showalter Auditorium. (359-2205)
At Gonzaga, Stephany Nobles-Beans, who works as a multicultural assistant for Whitworth College, will present a one-woman show depicting Rosa Parks. This free event is at the Unity House Cultural Education Center on Monday, Jan. 20, at 7 pm. (323-5836)
On Saturday, Jan. 18, there will be a Peace and Justice Action League anti-war rally at Riverfront Park at 1 pm.
"It's shocking to us that many people in Spokane don't realize the important role Martin Luther King played in the anti-war movement in this country," says Rusty Nelson of PJALS. The event features local bands and speakers, including Reverend Happy Watkins, who will speak about the famous speech King delivered against the Vietnam War in 1967.