Here’s a dispatch from S-R reporter Parker Howell on the festivities today in the state Capitol for Martin Luther King Jr.-Idaho Human Rights Day:
Instructed to tell one truth and one lie about himself to a small group of Idahoans this afternoon, Gov. Butch Otter paused to think. “I am always right,” he said with a grin. “And in being always right … this is too obvious.”
The members of Otter’s group, participants in a “Mix It Up” activity in the Statehouse rotunda, were later surprised to learn that he really was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. The “Mix It Up” program, recently used by students at Weiser High School, aims to help people make connections across social barriers.
Otter and a few legislators participated in the event as part of a ceremony to commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. Although state and federal workers take the day off, the Idaho Legislature keeps working. During a short speech, Otter signed a proclamation declaring today “Martin Luther King Jr. Idaho Human Rights Day.” He reminded listeners about the importance of voluntarism and community service and urged them to reaffirm principles of freedom and justice for all.
The Idaho Voices for Diversity choir twice sang “Don’t Laugh at Me,” and keynote speaker Dr. Vincent Kituku, a native of Kenya, urged audience members to take action. “Human rights is not just words,” he said, his voice echoing around the marble chamber.
The annual ceremony inside the Capitol followed a march from the Boise State University campus to the Capitol steps, where hundreds gathered to listen to speakers. Many held signs celebrating peace and tolerance.