Published: Jan. 16, 2014
On Monday, Jan. 20, hundreds of community members will pay tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. during the City of Lafayette’s ninth annual Martin Luther King, Jr. March for Peace and Celebration. Planned in conjunction with the federal holiday, the event will kick-off with a community march at noon at the southwest corner of West Waneka Parkway and South Public Road. The march will conclude at Escuela Bilingüe Pioneer (101 E. Baseline Rd.), where a celebration will be underway.
Free and open to the public, the afternoon celebration will include a welcome by Mayor Christine Berg and Boulder County Commissioner Cindy Domenico, performances by the Shekenah Glory Choir and Pioneer and Ryan Elementary School students, talks by Pastor Bruce Merriweather of the Second Baptist Church and CU-Boulder student leader Jeudon Kebede and a tribute to Nelson Mandela. The event will culminate with an interactive performance by a local Zumba group. Community members will also have an opportunity to complete several service and art projects throughout the event, which will conclude at 3 p.m. 
“I am excited to represent CU-Boulder during Lafayette's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. event,” said Kebede, a junior and president of the CU-Boulder Legislative Council. “As both a student leader and a mentor, I believe it is critical that community members and particularly young people have opportunities to reflect on the contributions of Dr. King, as it is our responsibility to maintain his legacy by emerging as active citizens and agents of change.”
Originally conceived by service-learning students at Escuela Bilingüe Pioneer in November 2004, the City of Lafayette’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. event historically has been planned by area youth. In keeping with the tradition, this year’s event is once again being organized by the Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee, which is serving as an event sponsor along with the CU-Boulder Public Achievement program.
“I am looking forward to this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration,” said Zack Cusworth, Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee co-chair and Peak to Peak High School senior. “It is incredibly rewarding to have an opportunity to not only plan an event for hundreds of community members, but also identify ways in which young people can advance the important work that Martin Luther King, Jr. and so many others began more than fifty years ago.”
Community members are encouraged to meet on the southwest corner of West Waneka Parkway and South Public Road by 11:45 a.m. The first 250 individuals to arrive will receive a free event t-shirt. Nonperishable food items will be collected on behalf of the Sister Carmen Community Center both prior to the march and at Escuela Bilingüe Pioneer during the afternoon celebration. Local students will also raise funds for survivors of Typhoon Haiyan during the event.  
The Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee engages Lafayette youth in outreach, advisory and educational opportunities through solutions-based discourse and action in their community. In addition, the committee advises the City Council on youth-related issues and other relevant topics and fosters youth leadership and civic participation in the greater community. Representing five local middle and high schools, 20 students currently comprise the Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee.  
The University of Colorado Boulder’s Public Achievement program is administered by the Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement with support from INVST Community Studies, the School of Education, and CU-Boulder Outreach Committee. Launched in January 2008 as part of a statewide civic engagement initiative, Public Achievement currently involves more than 75 CU-Boulder undergraduates and 250 K-12 students at Casey Middle School in North Boulder and Centaurus High School and Escuela Bilingüe Pioneer in Lafayette.
Story by the CU-Boulder Outreach and Engagment office. Photo courtesy of CU-Boulder's Public Achievement program.