King 'showed that color didn't matter'

King 'showed that color didn't matter'

450 parents, children march in Highlands Ranch to pay honor to civil rights leader

By Gary Massaro
Denver Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer

HIGHLANDS RANCH -- Scores of people walked to the tune of the same drummers Sunday, celebrating the message of Martin Luther King Jr.

The mostly white crowd of 450 gathered at Fox Creek Elementary School and, led by Parker's Chaparral High School drum corps, walked about 11/2 miles to Highlands Ranch High School, where they listened to music and talks about the message of America's greatest modern civil rights leader.

Along the way, some parents carried their children or pushed them in strollers.

Molly Millington, 5, held her mother Jennifer's hand.

Jennifer Millington said she brought Molly "to let her know it's good to be nice to people -- no matter what they look like."

It took adults hours to say what Sydnay Allen, 11, said: "Martin Luther King showed everybody that color doesn't matter. What matters is the inside."

The Bahai community organized the first Unity Walk six years ago. Now, it involves a number of groups who formed the nonprofit Martin Luther King Unity Alliance.

Robbi Smith Lange was there from the start. And she was there again Sunday.

"I hear of incidents in our community every month -- young people being threatened, called racist names, made to feel unwelcome," Lange said. "It's easy to say if we're not extremists that we're the good guy, but we have to address it on a daily basis."

Steve Mills walked by in his Lakota outfit -- bone breastplate, porcupine- hair headdress, moccasins.

"The reason I am in my regalia is it is supposed to be worn on special occasions. And I can think of none more special than to honor Dr. King," said Mills, 45, an electronics technician. "Dr. King stood as a light against the darkness of racism -- not just for African-Americans but for all Americans."

Recording artist Dan Seals -- who once was part of the Seals and Croft duet -- came from his home in Tennessee to sing and talk to the crowd.

He noted that the world is making progress, but there are a few hurdles left.

"The only thing that's keeping us apart is our hearts," he said.

The event came together and ran smoothly.

But there was a scare in Denver, which is preparing for its Martin Luther King Marade -- march and parade -- today.

Denver police called out the bomb squad Sunday morning after a sergeant on patrol noticed an object near the pedestal of the statute in the Thatcher Fountain in City Park.

The bomb squad blew up the device, which turned out to be an electronic air freshener, said police spokeswoman Mary Thomas. She said authorities normally conduct a sweep of the park prior to the Marade.

Today's Marade will assemble at 8 a.m. and start at 10 a.m. in City Park at the King statue and end at Civic Center Park.

In Fort Collins, people will gather at the Colorado State University Oval and walk to Old Town Square.

Today is a federal holiday, so banks and government offices will be closed.

Contact Gary Massaro at (303) 892-5271 or massarog@RockyMountainNews.com.

Additional reporting by staff writer John Ensslin.

January 17, 2000


©Copyright 2000, Denver Publishing Co.
Original Story

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