MLK Jr./Equality draws marchers, calls for service (PHOTOS)

Banners and signs were carried on January 15th, 2018, for the MLK Jr./Wyoming Equality Day march in Casper. (Trevor T. Trujillo)

The Casper Wyoming Martin Luther King Jr./Wyoming Equality Day Celebration drew many marchers to Casper’s City Park, braving temperatures around 12 degrees, and windchill values below zero.

Observation of the day kicked off al 11:00 am, January 15, 2018, with a brief gathering and some statements from attendees. Gatherers heard from representatives of the United Church of Christ (a sponsor of the event,) First United Methodist Church, and Interfaith.

The march began, escorted by a rolling barricade from the Casper Police Department and an NCJS JROTC color guard, at 7th and Center streets. The march went North on Center, before turning east on 2nd Street, and finally ending at the First United Methodist Church, near the Natrona County Library. Marchers stamping their feet and breathing into their hands to fight off the cold, were invited to warm themselves in the church with Hot Chocolate, free t-shirts, and stickers.

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In the church marchers had an opportunity to visit with representatives of ServeWyoming, for volunteer opportunities, sign a pledge of non-violence, and hear from several speakers.

Casper’s recently elected Mayor, Ray Pacheco, was present at the event, giving a speech that called on the citizens of Casper to remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his call to service. Pacheco saying that King’s words and legacy endure, not just one day a year, but year round. Pacheco also read proclamations from city and state officials in recognizing the day. Casper’s Vice Mayor, Charlie Powell, and councilperson Jesse Morgan were also spotted among the crowd.

Those gathered also heard from State Treasurer Mark Gordon, who similarly emphasized King’s call to service.

After a rousing rendition of the Lennon-McCartney hit, Let it Be, by musicians from Casper’s United Church of Christ, the gathered group heard from Hamid Khan, Deputy Director of the Rule of Law Collaborative. Khan sharing a story of his family, who came to Wyoming from Pakistan, were able to prosper with hard work, and provided opportunities in education for Khan. He recalled attending law school and feeling the desire for service, and dedicated large swathes of his life to serving people both at home and in war torn regions of the Middle East.

Participants and speakers gathered at Casper’s City Park before the march. (Trevor T. Trujillo)

A volunteer offers Casper community member and Legislative member, Pat Sweeney, a hand warmer for the march. (Trevor T. Trujillo)

Marchers bow their heads in prayer, before the march on Monday. (Trevor T. Trujillo)

Members of the Natrona County High School JROTC program provided color guard duties for the event.

A rolling barricade was provided by the Casper Police Department for marchers on Monday. Participants could march down Center street with the group. Others unable to march were taxi’d to the First United Methodist Church by bus. (Trevor T. Trujillo)

Participants march down Center Street, for the Martin Luther King Jr./Wyoming Equality Day festivities. (Trevor T. Trujillo)

Event speaker Hamid Khan joined marchers on Monday, before his keynote speech at First United Methodist Church (Trevor T. Trujillo)

Marchers bundled up and carried signs down Center and 2nd Streets in Casper, braving low temperatures and sub-zero windchill values. (Trevor T. Trujillo)

Marchers pass Saint Anthony’s Catholic Church on Center Street in Casper, during the observance of Martin Luther King Jr./Wyoming Equality Day. (Trevor T. Trujillo)

Music, including many tunes by The Beatles, filled First United Methodist Church, as marchers came in from the cold temperatures. Music was provided by the Casper United Church of Christ. (Trevor T. Trujillo)

Casper Mayor, Ray Pacheco, signs a ServeWyoming banner in the foyer of the First United Methodist Church, following Monday’s March. (Trevor T. Trujillo)

Marchers listened to speeches from several speakers including Rev. Dee Lundberg, Emcee Brandon Kosine, Casper Mayor Ray Pacheco, ServeWyoming’s Shelly McAlpin, Wyoming State Treasurer Mark Gordon, and Deputy Director of the Rule of Law Collaborative- Hamid Kahn. (Trevor T. Trujillo)

Casper Mayor Ray Pacheco speaks to the crowd, inviting listeners to heed Dr. King’s call to service, all year round. (Trevor T. Trujillo)

Marchers wait patiently, listening to music while others arrive, following Monday’s march (Trevor T. Trujillo)

Hot cocoa was provided by the FUMC Youth Group, and was welcomed by several chilly participants. (Trevor T. Trujillo)

Hamid Kahn delivers a keynote speech to the celebrators of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Kahn shared his family’s story, including life in Sheridan Wyoming, the hard work of his parents, and his personal call to service following law school. Kahn said that the call only became more acute, following the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. (Trevor T. Trujillo)