Locals started celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day at 8 a.m. today, at the All People's Breakfast.
The program featured music from the Friendship Baptist Youth Choir, several speakers, and a poem from 2012 Pikes Peak Poet Laureate Jim Ciletti.
As has long been the case, the program put an emphasis on ending the death penalty, one of MLK"s dreams that has yet to be realized. The death penalty disproportionately affects minorities.
Speaker Diann Rust-Tierney of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty noted that Maryland would soon end capital punishment. While a small victory, she noted that it was one step along the path to a full ban on the practice.
Likewise, she said, "Ending the death penalty in Colorado is important ... If we end the death penalty in Colorado that's a way through to Texas and Georgia."
City Councilor Bernie Herpin also announced that the city had declared January "Emancipation Proclamation Awareness Month" in honor of the 150th anniversary of the freeing of American slaves.
Several other events are planned for today, including:
• Courageous Conversations: "Thoughts and Reflections: A Colorblind Society." at 2 p.m. and "How Racist Are You? Micro-Aggressions and the Subtle Impact on Campus Culture" at 3:30 p.m.
• Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Troupe at 7 p.m.