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State MLK ceremony features calls for justice

Hundreds of people filled the Capitol rotunda on three floors for today’s Martin Luther King Jr./Idaho Human Rights Day commemoration. Lt. Gov. Brad Little, reading an official proclamation, declared, “The celebration of Dr. King's birthday is intended as a time for all Americans to reaffirm their commitment to the basic principles that underlie our Constitution - equal treatment and justice for all." He said, "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.”

Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, the mistress of ceremonies, told the crowd, “As Dr. King said so eloquently, now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”

Keynote speaker Rabbi Dan Fink said, “The pursuit of justice begins with truth. No one understood this better than Martin Luther King.” Fink said much of King’s dream remains unfulfilled, as racism, sexism, religious hatred and prejudice persist. But he said a key thing has changed since King’s time: The law. Civil rights laws enacted in the past 50 years mean “you live in a more just nation than those who came before you.”

Fink called for amending the Idaho Human Rights Act to extend the state’s anti-discrimination laws to cover sexual orientation and gender identity. “Let them earn a living, secure housing, and be served at public businesses free of prejudice, just like everyone else,” he said to applause. The bill, proposed but not heard in the Idaho Legislature in each of the past nine legislative sessions, is up for a full hearing next week.

INW: Iupati Named To All-Rook Team

The FBI is seeking information connected to the identity of the person or persons seen with this Swiss Army-brand backpack. The backpack, which was found along the Martin Luther King Day parade route in Spokane on Monday, contained an explosive device capable of inflicting casualties. The T-shirts were contained in the backpack. The backpack was found on a bench at the corner of North Washington Street and West Main Avenue. SR story here. (Photo courtesy of FBI)

Christie: Aryans Were A Downer

Christie Wood (re: Aryans stage protest near Human Rights Institute): I drove by them on my way to drop off some food for the Martin Luther King Gala event hosted by the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations. All of the good thoughts I had been having about our event, including the 26th year of the children's program hosted on MLK birthday at NIC, were suddenly dampened by the sight of hate. But I reminded myself that our unfortunate history in this arena is why I joined the Task Force two years ago- to help victims of hate, to help promote human rights and equality for all, and work with our community to celebrate diversity.

Question: Is Kootenai County fertile for the second coming of an Aryan Nations HQ?

Aryans Stage Protest Near HR Institute

I have a friend who moved here last year from the Portland area and she called me a few minutes ago about the Aryans on NW Blvd. She was freaking out, crying, saying she couldn't believe her eyes, that she'd never seen anything like it in her life and that she wanted to puke. She had driven around the block three times to holler (expletive deleted) at them, at which point they all gave her the finger and cheered wildly. To me, the saddest part is how nonplussed I was by this news. I told her that it's not that uncommon to see those idiots around town doing their hate thing. I told her that they thrive on attention and in the future it'd probably be best to just ignore them and go along her merry way, or she's just feeding into exactly what they're after: a reaction. Depressing, because I should be more outraged by these things but I have just become a bit numb to it/OrangeTV. More below.

Question: Have you become numb to the presence of supremacist activity in the Coeur d'Alene/Hayden area?

Idaho Tea Party Gathers At Capitol

Item: Idaho Tea Party gathers on Capitol steps to push agenda/Brian Murphy, Idaho Statesman

More Info: Several hundred supporters of the tea party agenda gathered Monday at the state Capitol for an event organized by the Idaho Tea Party. With banners proclaiming "Turning Back the Tides of Tyranny," speakers — including Idaho Rep. Pate Nielsen, R-Mountain Home — outlined the tea party's priorities and called for citizens to take action. … The rally was sponsored by the Idaho Freedom Foundation.

Question: Has the Idaho Tea Party been effective?

MLK Day ceremony draws hundreds to rotunda

Hundreds of people filled the Capitol rotunda today for Idaho's official observation of Martin Luther King Jr./Idaho Human Rights Day, including lots of children. Estella Zamora, president of the Idaho Human Rights Commission, quoted Martin Luther King: "Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children." She said, "We hope today that you leave here inspired that one person can make a difference, and that one person can be you … that justice and dignity is a right that can and should be given to all of God's children."

Lieutenant Gov. Brad Little read the official state proclamation, declaring that the holiday is a time to reaffirm "equal treatment and justice for all." He also encouraged those in the crowd to participate in the political process, saying, "It only works if we have broad participation."

Holocaust survivor Rose Beal shared her story, including the horrors she endured as an 11-year-old Jewish girl in Nazi Germany - horrors that she survived, but many in her family didn't. She remembered sailing into New York harbor after her escape. "We were all on deck. We were crying, we were laughing," she recalled. "This great country with all its opportunity never disappointed me."

The state ceremony, sponsored by the Idaho Human Rights Commission and the Idaho Department of Labor, included music by the Common Ground Community Chorus with soloist Holly Ann Kling; a youth mariachi band; a trumpet fanfare and more.

Dr. Martin Luther King in the Rear View Mirror…

Good morning, Netizens…

Due to circumstances beyond my control, despite a multi-year custom of writing about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King in years past, yesterday I could not write about much of anything at all. Simply put, there wasn’t enough hours in the day to complete everything staring me down from my platter. However, since I have a Virtual Rear View Mirror in the Virtual Ballroom, I can study Dr. King’s eyes as they were in life, and the question which has so come to taunt me is, if Dr. King were alive today, wouldn’t he immediately leave for Haiti to personally assist in the rescue effort?

Would he, by looking into the collective eyes of Haitian’s pain and suffering beyond our wildest imagination, feel compelled to climb aboard a jet and fly to Port Au Prince by whatever means necessary and volunteer to help? I submit he would.

I do concede that the body politic has changed a great deal since Dr. King was alive. After all, if you contemplate the image of Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr. working on the ground in tandem handing out MRE’s and water, could Dr. King do any worse than stand tall and say, “Here I am, Lord, send me.”

Which brings us to my question of the day. Why am I still here? Despite Type 2 Diabetes, a bad heart and various other infirmities mostly related to encroaching old age, why am I not standing in the tropical heat of Port Au Prince with others of extreme courage, assisting in the relief effort? I have already donated to the American Red Cross relief effort, but that is not the same as knowing for a certainty that I could give more. Some might say at my age, such a thought would be a suicide mission, because the heat and disease inevitably would kill me. On the other hand, I could then say I gave everything to people who now have nothing.