Hundreds of people have filled the rotunda of the state Capitol today for the state’s official Martin Luther King Jr.-Idaho Human Rights Day ceremony, filling the center of the statehouse on the 2nd floor and looking on from the floors above. “Dr. King was relentless … in striving for equal opportunity,” Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little told the crowd. “Dr. King’s vision of opportunity included the most basic of human rights, with the right to a better education and a better job being pre-eminent. … Let us keep moving for a better America and a better Idaho.”
The official proclamation, which Little read, said in part, “The ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Idaho’s commitment to human rights are worthy of reflection and serve as a reminder that improving the quality of life for all members of society is everyone’s responsibility.”
Jill Gill, a Boise State University history professor, is now giving the keynote speech, telling the story of Idaho and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – for which Idaho’s entire, then-bipartisan congressional delegation voted in favor. “Their votes put Idaho on the right side of history,” Gill said.
The Common Ground Community Chorus lifted its voices in a musical presentation of “I Have a Dream,” and the ceremony also includes trumpet fanfares, singing and more. Before it began, in the final order of business in the Senate, Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill offered quotes from King.