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Virtual events and radio shows celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy
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Credit: American Experience

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed on the third Monday of January every year. The weekend ahead of the holiday usually includes celebrations of Dr. King's life where people participate in large, in-person events. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the events will look a lot different this year.

Thankfully, there are still virtual events and radio programs out there for people to tune into.

Several programs on KUVO JAZZ this weekend will highlight the music spawned by American’s quest for civils rights.

On Saturday January 16, Rolando Garcia hosts a special edition of the R & B Jukebox at 6 p.m., including songs that shine the light on Rhythm and Blues’ long and tenuous relationship with race relations in the U.S. dating back to the late 1940s. Sam Cooke, The Impressions, Otis Redding, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe are a few of the artists featured this Saturday night on the R&B Jukebox.

Saturday night at 8:00 p.m., the Groove Jazz Rendezvous hosted by Adam Morgan celebrates the movement with classic soul and smooth jazz versions of songs that cry out for justice.

Because the civil rights movement was anchored in the church, there’s plenty of gospel music in the protest catalog. On Sunday’s Gospel Train, January 17 at 8:00 a.m., Deborah Walker hosts her annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day special, featuring the crooning of Ray Charles, music from the soundtrack of the film “Martin,” a version or two of “We Shall Overcome,” Mahalia Jackson and more.

Your Sunday night host on KUVO Jazz is local poet, bandleader and KUVO host Andy O’Leary. “Every episode of ‘The Nightside’ has social justice at its core,” O'Leary said. Tune in Sunday beginning at 8:00 p.m. for modern jazz versions of freedom songs and some segments of Martin Luther King Jr. speeches.

On the 18th, THE DROP will air testimonials from people in the community, as well as excerpts from some of Dr. King's most memorable speeches.

On Dr. King's birthday, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock sent out a video promoting some of the MLK events in the city, including the 1,000 Free Meals event.

Denver’s Marade, a one-of-a-kind march and parade that pays tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. every year, is 100% virtual in 2021. Webinars, videos and other virtual events, as well as the history of this signature event, can be found on their website and Facebook page.

Marade organizers tell Rocky Mountain PBS that this year's theme is "Good Trouble" in honor of the late civil rights hero and Congressman John Lewis, who once said, "Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble."

Dr. Vern L. Howard of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission

More information on the Marade is available at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission's YouTube page.

The City of Boulder has put together a list of virtual events people can sign up for, including the 16th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulder County Community Celebration.

A special Facebook event page has been set up for MLK Day events taking place in Colorado Springs. More information is available here.

In Fort Collins, Colorado State University has compiled numerous events and activities in which community members can participate to honor King's memory.

CSU Pueblo, meanwhile, will share event information on their Twitter page.

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