Utah Neighbors Find Unique Ways To Celebrate MLK Day

Jan 18, 2021, 7:51 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Utahns celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day in different ways as the COVID-19 pandemic canceled many of the annual marches, gatherings and in-person service projects. But community leaders said that doesn’t mean Dr. King’s message is any less important.

“I think the meaning of it today has greater meaning or significance than ever,” said Mary Ann Villarreal, vice president at the University of Utah for equity, diversity and inclusion. “Virtual or not, how do we build community to put one foot in front of the other?”

Villarreal was responsible for organizing the university’s virtual Martin Luther King Jr. kick-off event on Monday, which included a variety of community leaders.

The theme was getting into “good trouble,” a phrase coined by the late U.S. Congressman John Lewis — a civil rights activist who told people they needed to get involved.

“Standing on the sideline is no longer an option for us. So today, in order to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, I am committed to getting into some ‘good trouble,’” said Rep. Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake City, during the kick-off video.

The food bank is another popular place for service projects. But with the virus, one organization decided to raise money for the food bank instead. The Utah Biden Inaugural Committee called upon Utahns to donate by going to its GoFundMe page.*

By Monday, the group had already reached their $50,000 goal.

“The pandemic has created a crisis of hunger in our state, and we are sometimes oblivious to this, those of us that have enough food,” said Devin Thorpe, co-chair for the committee. “No, the money is not going to Joe Biden, it’s not going to Joe Biden’s charity, it’s going directly straight to the Utah Food Bank. They will get it, they will use it.”

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Utah Neighbors Find Unique Ways To Celebrate MLK Day