MLK Events Set For Monday (Even Though Idaho Was Late to the Party)

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Most schools, city, county, state and federal offices will be closed in Idaho on Monday, Jan. 20 (though the Idaho Legislature will be in session), as the nation marks the annual observance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.  

Boise State University and the College of Western Idaho will be closed, as will all public schools, with the exceptions of Melba and Homedale schools, which will be in session.  Post offices and banks will be closed, but ValleyRide city buses and trash pick-ups will run on regular schedules.

Idaho was late to the party when it came to recognizing the King holiday. The official national holiday was signed into law in 1983 by then-President Ronald Reagan, but it wasn't until 1990 that then-Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus signed legislation making Idaho the 47th state to recognize an official King state holiday. The designation didn't come until after a string of Idaho lawmakers argued against giving another paid holiday to state employees and questioning the importance of Dr. King. Ultimately, in an effort to pacify legislators opposed to the King honor, it was decided that the third Monday of January would be known as "Idaho Human Rights Day."

Monday's MLK Day events will begin at 9 a.m. with a poster-making party at the Student Union Building on the campus of Boise State. From there, participants will march up Capitol Boulevard to the steps of the Idaho Capitol where they'll participate in an outdoor rally. Speakers will include Boise State Student Body President Bryan Vlok, MLK Living Legacy Committee Chair Milaun Danclair, Multicultural Student Services Tunnel of Oppression Director Jasmine Herrick, and the university's director of Student Diversity and Inclusion, Francisco Salinas.

The Idaho Human Rights Commission is also expected to hold its traditional indoor ceremony under the Capitol Rotunda at noon, although the commission hasn't sent out any notice of the event and its website makes no mention of any ceremony.