Iowa City and other nonprofits host march and celebration for MLK Day

Published: Jan. 16, 2023 at 6:04 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Around 250 people marched through Iowa City for Martin Luther King Jr Day on Monday morning followed by an additional event inside the Mercer Park Gym featuring speakers, music, singing, and dance performances.

This event is part of the Iowa City community’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration of Human Rights Week, which is a collaborative effort between the City of Iowa City, the Black Voices Project, the University of Iowa, and numerous nonprofit agencies. The event allowed people who attended to celebrate the progress made in racial equity in the United States while reflecting on the progress still required.

Dady Mansaray, who owns a boxing gym called ICOR Boxing in Iowa City, said he believes today is a day to celebrate and reflect on the values Martin Luther King Jr. exhibited during his life. He said the performances, especially from the children, were an inspiration to keep fighting against injustice.

“I don’t do as much as many of these people out here do,” Mansaray said. “But for some of the things I do, it’s creating some type of path that will lead us to that promised land. So, it’s very inspiring.”

Selina Gunn, who owns a food truck called Selina’s Creations in Iowa City, said she believes the federal holiday is a celebration of how far racial equity has come in the United States. She said the United States still has work to do to fulfill racial equality on issues related to policing, which she believes needs government action.

“I think it’s going to take more than just marches you know to change the world we live in,” Gunn said. “It’s going to take some action by the city, representatives, or the government.”

A number of different state, city, and local lawmakers around Johnson County attended the event.