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Jan 18, 2013 9:02 AM

Tucson's MLK Day march at UA this year

TUCSON- It has been 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic "I have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

"Dr. King was a man of no violence and that is what he preached," says Clarence Boykins of the Southern Arizona Black Chamber of Commerce.

Boykins says the message is more important now than ever. "We find ourselves in this quagmire of violence and so I think we need to be focused on what Dr. King's teaching was and what he said to us," Boykins says.

That is why this year Tucson's MLK festivities will be held at the University of Arizona Mall, rather than Reid Park. "This year we really wanted to get the community involved," says Program Coordinator Diedra Jones.

Attendance has dwindled over the years, so organizers decided to freshen things up by tapping a location that attracts Tucson's campus crowd and the rest of the community. "We're bringing everyone together," Jones says. "Not just African Americans, everyone, so we can be as one."

Jones says this year's MLK Jr. Day is especially significant because it falls on the same day as President Obama's second inauguration.

When the President takes the oath of office, he'll use the same bible Abraham Lincoln used and a bible that was once used by Martin Luther King Jr. "I think it's significantly important that the dreamer and the dream are come together on this particular day." Boykins says.

As thousands descend upon Capitol Hill, Tucsonans will also be watching and remembering how MLK's message still applies to us today.

Those wishing to participate in the annual march should gather prior to 9:00 a.m. at the U of A Martin Luther King Junior Center, located at 1322 East First Street. The walk will begin at 9:00 a.m., and take the following route:

- Mountain Avenue to Speedway Boulevard
-Speedway Boulevard to Campbell Avenue
-Campbell Avenue to the UA Mall, and west back on to campus

Speeches and entertainment will begin at 10:00 a.m. at the stage in front of the Old Main building and feature special presentations from city leaders and dignitaries as well as community
organizations and groups.

Parking on campus is free for those attending the festival, at designated parking lots. For more
entertainment, please contact Donna Liggins at (520) 237-7806 or Diedra Jones (520) 370-6528.

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