Support for the civil rights cause has not dimmed with the passage of the years.
That was the message Monday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Luncheon sponsored by the Salt Lake Branch National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The luncheon focused on civil rights and Utah.Calvin L. Rampton, former Utah governor, was honored for his years of service to the principles of civil rights. As governor during passage of national civil rights and fair employment laws, he worked hard to demonstrate that the quest for civil rights is a continuing one.
"We cannot afford to view the civil rights movement as a phenomenon of the '60s and '70s," said Alberta Henry, president of the Salt Lake NAACP. "Instead, we must view civil rights as what they are - a fundamental guarantee of equal citizenship for all Americans. As we enter the '90s, we must continue to be vigilant and support these freedoms."
Honoring proponents of civil rights, like Rampton, shows the commitment that exists in Utah, she said. "His belief was so strong that he appointed minorities to blue-ribbon commissions, the Institutional Councils, the Board of Corrections, the state hospitals and educational and family life councils," she said. "He remains concerned about people of many races and walks of life who may be denied full access to their liberties. These problems do exist today. And it's up to all of us to correct them."
Rampton was governor from 1965-1976. He is currently president and chairman of the law firm Jones Waldo Holbrook and McDonough.
Featured speaker at the luncheon was Cora Adams, professor of social work at California State University at Fresno.
Besides the luncheon, the Salt Lake NAACP planned to sponsor a Human Rights Day rally Monday at the State Capitol Rotunda. Participants in the rally were to include James Gillespie, president of the Ogden Branch NAACP; Ruben Jiminez, director of the Governor's Office of Hispanic Affairs; Utah Attorney General Paul Van Dam; and legislators Afton Bradshaw, Christine Fox, Lloyd Frandsen, Joanne Milner, Janet Rose and Robert Steiner.
Activities in Utah
Following is a list of activities planned in Utah in observance of Human Rights Day Monday honoring the late Martin Luther King Jr.
Second annual Young People's Vigil will be held in the rotunda of the State Capitol Building at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21. Includes music and dance by a University of Utah dance group, excerpts from inspirational talks by Martin Luther King Jr. and other renowned world leaders and a candlelight vigil.
Candlelight vigil at Utah State University Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 6 p.m. in the Taggart Student Center, featuring singing, prayers for peace and an excerpt from a King speech.
Convocation lecture at USU by Taylor Branch, author of Pulitzer Prize-winning book on King, "Parting the Waters: America in the King years, 1954-63" at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan 24.
Salt Lake School District will sponsor an essay contest for elementary students in the district called "Beyond the Dream." Each school in the district will hold classroom discussions on Martin Luther King Jr. and human rights.
Utah State Office of Education announced the winners of the statewide essay contest, "Martin Luther King's Dream: Where do I fit in?" for students in the seventh through 12th grades. Winners were recognized at a luncheon Jan. 17.