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.
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.