Events set to celebrate King legacy

By Casey Peacock: Freedom Newspapers

Various activities are planned by the Portales Cultural Affairs Committee to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and his vision and struggles to achieve a dream of nonviolence and equality in the world.

Festivities begin at 10 a.m. today with a commemorative march. Used as a medium for King to voice his approach for a nonviolent world, marches have become part of the African-American culture, according to Oscar Robinson, Portales cultural affairs committee chairman.

“It’s important for our folks to continue to reflect on our history of nonviolence,” Robinson said.

A lunch will be served to those who participated in the march.

A tree will be planted in King’s memory at City Park after the march.

Other activities are also planned throughout the weekend to honor King.

Beginning at 6 p.m. today, a lock-in at the Portales Recreation Center will help educate sixth- through eighth-grade students about King’s life. Once they arrive, students will not be allowed to leave the chaperoned event or go outside the building.

The students will be able to participate in games and tournaments, watch educational movies and listen to inspirational speeches during the night.

Special guest will be New Mexico Martin Luther King Jr. Commissioner Yvette Kaufman-Bell.

Festivities will continue at 2 p.m. Sunday with a “Time to Pray” session near the school fountain sponsored by African-American Affairs at Eastern New Mexico University.

Monday will conclude the celebration with a program beginning at 10 a.m. at the Memorial Building. It will include music by Andy Mason, who will perform civil rights songs. Franklin Smith and the Portales school choirs will also perform, said Robinson.

Keynote speaker for the event will be Lovington resident Richard Osburne, who participated in the civil rights movement and marched with King.

Awards will be presented to area school students who participated in the art contest.

The program will conclude with a dedication honoring 25 people who have worked to preserve and keep alive King’s dream in Portales, said Robinson.