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Utahns rally, march to honor life and legacy of Dr. King

Posted at 5:37 PM, Jan 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-17 21:12:12-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were honored across the state of Utah on Monday.

At East High School in Salt Lake City, hundreds of people converged in the parking lot for a rally and march put on by the University of Utah.

"I have just made a pledge to myself that on this particular day that I’m not going to treat it as another holiday," said Beth Allen.

Others, like Sammy Kiguthi, a sophomore at Utah State University, echoed the sentiment.

"I value multiple perspectives and the perspective that Martin Luther King Jr. had is important in my life, so I want to come here and show that is part of my identity," said Kiguthi.

Families and community members of all ages and various walks of life turned out for the annual event.

Mary Ann Villarreal, Vice President of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion with the University of Utah, says the event normally begins in the auditorium. However, after the event was canceled last year, partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they held the rally outside.

"Today is the day we recommit to the work. Today is the day we recognize what is the work ahead of us, and we build that together in solidarity," said Villarreal.

Several speakers took to the podium, including representatives from Gov. Spencer Cox's office and Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson.

"I believe strongly that a majority of my constituents in Salt Lake County are with us in heart and spirit today," said Mayor Wilson.

Following the rally, people put their feet to the pavement, marching in solidarity from the high school to Kingsbury Hall.

"Just the reminder to look around, to see who is in solidarity together and to know that we are not alone, that we do not do this work alone," said Villarreal.

With signs in hand, chants of "No justice, no peace" could be heard as people walked down the street. They hope to honor both the life and legacy of Dr. King.

"He was a complex man. He was not a perfect man, but he spent his life in the ways he could, and I think he has inspired a lot of people that little things matter," said Allen.

The events were just the beginning of the MLK week that the University of Utah has planned. Click here for more information about the upcoming U of U events, and click here for information on MLK week events organized by Visit Salt Lake.