PROVO, Utah – Activities around Utah Monday remembered and celebrated the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the work he did to bring greater racial equality to America. United Way of Utah County helped coordinate “Community Outreach Day” on the BYU campus, Provo, as part of the national focus on volunteer service that has become a tradition on this federal holiday.
Michaelann Gardner, United Way communications manager, said the day included blood drives and helping homebound seniors.
“It’s a chance to kind of commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King and how he was able to build community and change a community in a positive way, by allowing people to basically have a ‘day on,’ not a day off,” she explained.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is always observed on the third Monday in January, in honor of Dr. King’s birthday, which was Jan. 15., 1929. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
Monday’s activities at BYU also included the “Walk of Life: A Celebration of the Life and Mission of Martin Luther King, Jr.” Gardner said BYU students are among a generation of Americans brought up on Dr. King’s message of equality for all people.
“They’ve been very much raised in a culture that values all races and inclusion. And I think most people aspire to live the way that he did. I think that’s the inspiration behind this,” Gardner said.
The “Walk of Life” included a candlelight vigil.