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MLK Day: Rallies, Speeches, Music and a Day Off From School (For Some)

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Boise students, teachers and staff have another day off Monday; but this one was scheduled well in advance. Following two weeks of on-again, off-again schooldays due to a series of snow/ice storms, schools in the Boise Independent School District are dark Monday in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. The West Ada School District,  however, has scheduled classes Monday to make up for lost time during the snow days. The West Ada District also announced that students, teachers and staff will need to attend class on Presidents Day Monday, Feb. 20, again to make up for lost time. The Kuna School District also opted to keep schools open on Monday to serve as a make-up day.

There will be no mail delivery Monday and most libraries, federal, county, state and city offices are closed, as are the College of Western Idaho and Boise State University.

Boise State was the center of attention early Monday as the university kicked-off its celebration of Dr. King's birthday, with its annual poster-making workshop at the Student Union. Later, attendees will participate in a late-morning march from the campus, up Capitol Boulevard and to the Idaho Capitol for a rally on the steps of the Statehouse.

[image-2]Francisco Salinas, director for Student Diversity and Inclusion at Boise State University, is the driving force behind Boise State's "MLK Living Legacy Celebration," which begins Monday and continues for the following nine days. Events include an "Obama Appreciation Night" Thursday, Jan. 19 and a keynote address from author/TV host Tavis Smiley on Monday, Jan. 23.

"[Monday, Jan. 16] is really a day on, not a day off. Come join our poster-making event. Join our march to the Statehouse," Salinas told Boise Weekly. "It's an opportunity to honor a legacy that challenges us to create a better world. ... If you shrink from that responsibility, it's on you."

The Idaho Human Rights Commission will hold its own MLK Day/Idaho Human Rights Day celebration at noon under the Capitol Rotunda in the Statehouse featuring music and remarks from state officials.

The Gem State has a checkered history when it comes to honoring Dr. King. Although the official U.S. holiday was signed into law in 1983 by then-President Ronald Reagan, it wasn't until 1990 when Idaho became the 47th state in the nation to recognize the holiday. The observance followed a robust legislative debate in which some lawmakers questioned the importance of Dr. King. A compromise pacified those opponents when lawmakers agreed to call the third Monday of January "Idaho Human Rights Day."


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