Observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Wyoming Equality Day on Monday in Casper with a march, a national civil rights speaker, lunch and an opportunity to participate in several grassroots service projects.
“We really want to emphasize it’s a day on, not a day off,” said Nureigh Glasgow of ServeWyoming, which sponsors the day along with many partners.
A march begins at 11 a.m. at City Park on Seventh and Center streets and ends at First United Methodist Church. Folks who cannot or prefer not to march may ride a CATC bus along the march route or meet at the church for a proclamation, speech and music.
Hamid Kahn, who was raised in Sheridan and is now an attorney, civil rights advocate and adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina, is the keynote speaker.
“We’re excited to have him because he’s done so much work with advocacy at the national level,” Glasgow said. “He has an amazing background. I asked him to talk about why it’s important for communities to remember Martin Luther King Day.”
Kahn’s message will be: “We’re stronger together. There’s not an easy, simple definition of what it means to be an American, because there’s no set path, just a shared set of values that are not easily expressed,” Glasgow said.
Kahn attended school in Sheridan with ServeWyoming’s executive director Shelly McAlpin. Part of his history is helping start a mosque in Wyoming, Glasgow said.
Music during the program will be provided by the United Church of Christ.
Participants are then invited to lunch at Food for Thought Project, 900 St. John St.
After lunch, from 12:30 to 3 p.m., Jamie Purcell and her staff will guide volunteers through several different service projects.
“Many hands make light work, so we have to have enough for everyone to do,” Purcell said.
The first project is to make 650 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which is enough for one weekend of food backpacks provided by the project to Casper’s food insecure students. The food bags contain enough food to tide the child over on the weekend when school meals are not available. They are delivered by volunteers to schools each Friday.
Project two will be making plant pots out of newspaper and filling them with dirt, so they can be distributed in the food bags.
“Then our kids can grow their own food at home,” Purcell said.
And project three is painting a mural inside the entryway and down to the food packing room in the former church. That project will be led by Michele Heaphy, who has painted several murals on the Food for Thought campus already.
The mural is already sketched out, so volunteers of all ages and abilities will be painting by numbers.
“People can pick whatever they’d like and just do one, or do as many projects as they want to try. We are always happy to have folks here and participating,” Purcell said.
Glasgow said when the local NAACP chapter dissolved, ServeWyoming was asked to lead the day’s planning, specifically for the march.
Other partners have stepped up to help, including the Casper NAACP, First United Methodist Church, AmeriCorps, United Church of Christ, Food for Thought Project, Casper College, the City of Casper, ROTC and many volunteers.
Both Glasgow and Purcell stressed that Monday’s entire day is family oriented and invited those planning to attend to find another person to bring along.
For more information, call Glasgow at 234-3428 or Purcell at 337-1703.