Mesa plans to remember the leadership and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with several celebrations on Monday. The events are organized by the Mesa Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee and will be on Jan. 16, which is Martin Luther King (MLK) Day.
The celebration begins with the MLK Breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Mesa Convention Center, 263 N. Center St. The keynote speaker is Calvin Terrell, founder of Social Centric and master artist of group facilitation and public speaking for more than 20 years. Topics he normally addresses include diversity awareness to social consciousness; bullying/violence prevention and race, racial healing and racial justice.
The MLK Breakfast includes an awards program to recognize local community organizers and leaders working to build a better community. Scholarships will be presented to two college students. For ticket information, visit www.mesamlk.org.
Then the MLK Parade will be from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It will begin at the intersection of Center Street and MLK Way and will travel south on Center Street and turn west on First Street. The parade will continue on First Street to Robson where it will end. It will include Mesa Police, Mesa Fire, Mesa City Council, marching bands and community leaders and organizations.
This year’s grand marshal is John Meza, who recently retired as Mesa police chief after 29 years of service.
The following streets are scheduled to be closed for the parade:
- 3rd Place – Drew to Center Street.
- MLK Way – Centennial Way to Center Street.
- 2nd Street – Drew to Center Street.
- 2nd Street – Robson to Morris.
- Macdonald – Pepper Place to 2nd Street.
- Robson – Pepper Place to 2nd Street.
- Morris – 1st Street to 2nd Street.
- Center Street – University Drive to Pepper Place.
- 1st Street – Centennial Way to Country Club Drive.
All streets should reopen by 2 p.m. Traffic can detour around the parade route by using Main Street, Mesa Drive, Country Club Drive and University Drive.
Following the parade, the MLK Festival will be from noon to 4 p.m. at the Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St. The free program includes music, dance, a reading of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a creative arts awards presentation and an interfaith candlelight vigil. There will be information on job and volunteer opportunities as well as health and community outreach programs. There will also be a youth area with games, bounce houses and other activities.
This year’s celebrations are using the theme “A Call to Action, Making Our Voices Heard.” The Mesa MLK Celebration Committee is partnering with United Food Bank to collect jars of peanut butter and jelly at all of the events. Donation bins will be located along the parade route.
The city of Mesa will be closed Monday, Jan. 16 in observance of MLK Day. The closure includes libraries and the Webster and Jefferson recreation centers. The Red Mountain Multi-Generational Center will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Dobson Ranch Golf Course and all City tennis courts will be open. The Kino Aquatic Center and Skyline Aquatic Center will be open for lap swimming. Trash and recycle service will be on the normal collection schedule but residents should have barrels on the curb by 6 a.m. All bus and light rail routes will operate on a Sunday/holiday schedule.
Mesa’s annual MLK celebrations were created after residents, in 1996, voted to establish a city-wide holiday recognizing the leadership of Dr. King. For more information on the various MLK celebrations, visit www.mesamlk.org.