Inaugural Prescott Martin Luther King Jr. Peace and Justice March

PRESCOTT - The inaugural Prescott Martin Luther King Jr. Peace and Justice March is scheduled to step off at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 20, at the Prescott College Welcome Center parking lot. The march is dedicated to King's memory and his legacy of service.

"I was kind of surprised, shocked, and disappointed that there wasn't an MLK march here in town," march organizer Dr. Keith Cross said. "So I just decided to make it happen. It's been a grassroots effort."

Participants will gather at the parking lot at 220 Grove Ave. for the 1.2-mile walk that will take them south on Grove, east on Gurley Street, around the courthouse plaza, then west on Gurley. The march will conclude at the Prescott United Methodist Church at 505 W. Gurley St. The group will be walking in the street, accompanied by officers from the Prescott Police Department

"The goal was to make the march visible, first and foremost. And what better place than the square," Cross said. "I think it's a great route - it's not too long; it's not too short. I'm looking forward to it." 

After the march, Arizona Serve, a project of Prescott College, has planned a day of service that will address a number of community needs and opportunities.

"Arizona Serve's mission is to support local service providers in their efforts to address community needs," Events Coordinator Ericka Stone said. "Through this day of service, community members can help us with that mission. Our hope is that community volunteers will connect with local non-profits and schools through this day of hands-on one-time service opportunities and hopefully choose to continue volunteering all year long."

Some of the service projects the organization has put together for volunteers to choose from are:

• The Boys & Girls Club in Prescott will have various painting and cleaning projects for volunteers to help out with.

• Volunteers will help clean the Prescott Disabled American Veterans store and organize the hundreds of donations they receive daily. 

• Painting and deep cleaning the Yavapai Humane Society's pet adoption center and administration buildings. A tour of the facility and an animal training demonstration is set to follow the day's list of chores. 

• School playgrounds in both the Prescott and Humboldt unified school districts will undergo a variety of restoration and cleanup such as painting, weeding, scrubbing, trash removal, or other specific needs.

According to Arizona Serve's website, more than 660 community members across Yavapai County contributed 2,230 hours of service with 22 different service projects for the 2013 event. More than 530 volunteers were youth, including children from pre-school to young adults in college. 

It is the seventh year the organization has been hosting the event in the Prescott area. 

People interested in volunteering for service projects can register from 10-11 a.m. in the parking lot of the church after the march. The projects are expected to run from 12:30 to 4 p.m.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a leader of the Civil Rights Movement during the mid-1950s. On April 4, 1968, James Earl Rayon shot and killed King while the activist was standing on a balcony outside his room at the Lorraine Motel, in Memphis, Tenn., according to the website Ray was eventually apprehended after a two-month international manhunt. King's killing sparked riots and demonstrations in more than 100 cities across the nation. In 1969, Ray pleaded guilty to assassinating King and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. Ray died in prison on April 23, 1998. 

For more information on the march, contact Dr. Keith Cross at (928) 273-0027. For information on how to participate in the service projects, contact Erika Stone at Arizona Serve, (928) 848-7870.


Reprinted courtesy of the Daily Courier