January 16, 2023

The louder our voice, the more we are to be heard. The more we stand together, the more we will be seen. The more hands that interlock, the heavier the burden we can lift. The more we light our candles together, the brighter our beacon blazes in the darkness. All life is interrelated. The agony of the poor impoverishes the rich; the betterment of the poor enriches the rich. We are inevitably our brother’s keeper because we are our brother’s brother. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.                          ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

2023 Recap

View Pictures from the day HERE

Watch the full 2023 Celebration HERE


March Start: 11:00 am at Washington Park (301 Maple Street)

Please tag us on social media using #FOCOMLK2023

A special thank you to the committee members for their work on this year’s event!    


for questions about the event contact <a href=”mailto:Ramoz,Amber “>amber.ramoz@colostate.eduWat

The march route features a path to commemorate Black families who put down roots in northern Fort Collins in the early 1900s.  From Washington Park, the march will head north to Cherry St, west to Meldrum, and south back to campus for approximately a ~1.3 miles march.  For more information on the historical houses, please check out Black/African American History in Fort Collins.  

March Start: 11:00 am at Washington Park (301 Maple Street) 

March End: ~12:45 pm at the Lory Student Center followed by our celebration event.

If you are driving to the start we suggest you park in the Civic City Garage which has free parking on this day. 

Free transportation will be provided from the Lory Student Center Transit Center Lane D to the Downtown Transit Center following the service project, march and celebration  (run time 9:45am-2:30pm)

Other ways to participate: If you are unable to participate in the march, consider participating in spirit by decorating your business or residence.

  • Candlelight Vigil (more information below)
  • Yard signage and artwork.  Check out past photos here.  

There are multiple volunteer opportunities for the celebration and march that will be needed in several locations:

  • MLK Day of Service- Assemble care packages in the Lory Student Center Theatre from 8:00am – 10:00am 
  • MLK Program & Keynote- Event assistance prior to the march at Washington Park and keynote in the LSC, both starting at 10:00am
  • MLK March- Trash collection following the march starting at Washington Park no later than 11:00am

For more information and to sign up, please go here.  

The City’s Neighborhood Services Department invites neighbors across Fort Collins to set battery-powered, tea light luminaries along sidewalks and driveways as an act of remembrance and solidarity with the work of Dr. King, past civil rights leaders, and those who continue to fight for social justice today.

These small lights throughout our city seek to honor the words of Dr. King when he said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” 

To request luminary materials for your home or business to participate in the vigil, please fill out the form at this link. Please note that supplies are limited. 

Anyone registered for materials can pick them up at 281 N. College Avenue lobby during the following hours (Materials will be bundled per one household [enough materials for three luminarias]. Please take the amount you indicated when you registered.):

  • Wednesday, January 11th from 1 – 5 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 12th from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Friday, January 13th from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 14th from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Ludy Rueda // Bilingual Community Outreach Librarian at Poudre Libraries

For the past fourteen years, Ludy has brought transformative library programs and services to the most marginalized and vulnerable as a member of the Community Outreach team. Over the years, Ludy has initiated and partnered on community celebrations for Día de Muertos and Día de los Ninos, organized the annual week-long IMAGINANTES program for diverse youth, and of course, facilitated countless bilingual storytimes at mobile home parks and Title I schools. A fierce advocate, Ludy challenges library staff to live our motto of “free and equal access for all” each day.

Dolores Mata // Bilingual Bibliographic Services Specialist at Poudre Libraries

Over the past 50 years working for Poudre Libraries, Dolores has been a strong and consistent voice for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in library services. Dolores courageously speaks up for change whenever she sees or experiences injustice. With persistence and determination, she has acted on ideas to bring more fairness and diversity to the library, including starting the library’s first libros en español/Spanish language book collection.

Michael Buttram // Basic Needs Program Manager at CSU

Mike Buttram serves as the Program Manager for Basic Needs in the SLiCE office at CSU. The work he has done around basic needs for our community is immeasurable. The growth in this program has truly had a positive impact on students’ lives. By building a community of care, Mike has helped transform our CSU Community by helping us address and combat institutional and systematic barriers to services and resources for all. 

Roe Bubar // Ethnic Studies Professor at CSU

Roe Bubar, J.D. is a Professor in the Ethnic Studies Department jointly appointed in the School of Social Work at Colorado State University (CSU). She is a scholar specializing in Indigenous Studies, a Women and Gender Studies Affiliate faculty and serves as the Chair of the Women’s Studies Advisory Board. Her work is so meaningful as her influences on teaching from a pedagogical lens continues to have a national impact specifically her work with womyn of color feminist.  Roe is a licensed attorney and mediator, and she works with state, federal, and tribal agencies. In her spare time, she gardens plays golf, and manages Arikara Farms, a small, Indigenous-owned hobby farm. Each year, Roe organizes and coordinates an Indigenous harvest dinner project collaborating with Indigenous organizations, community members, students, and university volunteers. We cannot thank Roe enough for her commitment and dedication to our community.

Daniela Tijerina Benner // SummitStone Health Partners

Daniela Tijerina Benner is SummitStone’s Grants Program and Language Access Manager.  Daniela is a Fulbright Awardee with a B.A. in Latin American Studies and an M.A. in Linguistics with concentrations in psychology, Spanish for social work, and gender studies.  She has provided advocacy support to survivors of Domestic Violence and is currently promoting health equity for all members of our Northern Colorado community by actively removing language access barriers in healthcare.

Natalie Brown // SummitStone Health Partners

Nat Brown is an MSW graduate of Colorado State, class of 1999, and Program Manager for SummitStone Health Partners Community Based Recovery Support Programs (CBRSP.) She has over 23 years of experience in supporting adults living with behavioral health challenges as they realize their potential to achieve life and career goals.  The CBRSP Peer Services team employs 17 individuals with lived experience to engage with clients throughout SummitStone’s continuum of care. Spirit Crossing Clubhouse supports over 275 individuals annually through their journey of recovery.  

Aparna Palmer // Interim Vice President of Front Range Community College

Aparna is a leader who is committed to supporting all faculty, staff, and students at FRCC. Her positivity and dedication to equity make her a great representative for FRCC.

Monica Baucke // City of Fort Collins

Monica is a diversity, equity, and inclusion warrior. She is the communications lead for the City’s ENCORE (engaging employees of color for opportunity- retention- enrichment) employee resource group. She is dedicated to the work of advocating for others and works tirelessly to connect people so we have the opportunity to learn from one another. She wholeheartedly shows up authentically in the workplace and creates safety and joy for others.

Marisa Olivas // City of Fort Collins

Marisa is a rockstar DEI champion. She is currently a working mother, raising a toddler, and going to law school! She is involved in all things equity at the City and strives to bring people together to grow our perspectives in positive ways. She is a dedicated colleague and show genuine care for her colleagues and community members.

Aloha Arceo Apitz // Family Liaison at Poudre High School

Aloha has a long history of advocating for marginalized groups and working to create a more inclusive and equitable society. Whether through volunteering their time giving informational presentations to families who are Spanish-speaking, organizing events to raise awareness about social justice issues, or simply using their platform to speak out against injustice, Aloha has consistently demonstrated a deep commitment to Dr. King’s principles of social justice and equality.

Student Facilitators and Staff Sponsors // YCD Conference at RMHS

The students and staff went above and beyond to learn, plan, and facilitate a day of learning for students across NOCO and parts of Wyoming. They bravely used their collective voices to make help improve our system for others. This diverse group of students and staff honored Dr. King’s legacy by working together across identities to impact their spheres of influence in a powerful and impactful way.

This portion of the event will be live streamed. *Live stream link coming soon*  

Following the march, we will gather in the Lory Student Center Grand Ballroom for our annual community celebration.

We anticipate this portion will begin around 12:45 following the march. 
Tentative schedule of event:
  • Welcomes from CSU President, Front Range Community College President, Poudre School District  Superintendent, and City of Fort Collins Mayor 
  • Entertainment
  • Keynote 
  • Closing 

Book Displays – each library will feature lobby displays of books by and about MLK and those inspired by his work in civil rights and social justice.

Information about the Proclamation can be found HERE. The Proclamation will be read prior to the march at Washington Park. 

Date: Wednesday, January 18th

Time: 11:00am-12:00pm

Location: Front Range Community College East Conference Room, Longs Peak Student Center

   4616 S. Shields Street

   Fort Collins, CO 80526


Event description: Join us to hear Joe Buckner speak about his life experiences and about the ways we can draw inspiration from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to help make our community a better place for everyone. Joe grew up in Fort Collins and is an Entrepreneur, Businessman, and founder of the Beautifully Savage Boxing Gym.

FREE lunch for be provided for participants following the talk.

Explore sites in Fort Collins that help tell the story of Black/African Americans in the city from the 1880s through the 1970s. Great for a virtual tour from home, or a socially-distanced walk, bike, or drive around Old Town Fort Collins.


or copy link:

The Clay family was the most prominent, long-standing Black family in early Fort Collins history, and they helped build what became a small but thriving Black community in this neighborhood. The Clays used to own a house that doubled as a church at 321 Maple Street, just east of here, that was torn down in the

1970s for the new City Hall complex.

Charley Clay arrived in Colorado in 1864 as a cook accompanying a military detachment. By 1882, Clay moved to Fort Collins with his wife Anna and worked as a caterer and cook.

The Clay home was the center of Black social life in Larimer County during

the early 1900s. Out of his home at 317 Maple Street, Charley Clay ran the Colored Mission, which became a Zion Baptist Church congregation, and ministered to Black families throughout the region. His son, Charles Clay, Jr., established a home next door at 321 Maple. The Clays hosted

visitors, entertainers, meetings, and important social gatherings, such as the local chapter of the Paul Laurence Dunbar Literary Society, a national Black organization that discussed current social and political issues.

The family were also known among the City’s earliest public servants.

Charley, Sr. worked for the city as the “scavenger,” removing disposed items and trash that accumulated on public streets. William Clay served on the volunteer fire department in the 1890s.


Hattie McDaniels was the first Black American to win an Academy Award for her film career, and helped end the practice of housing segregation in the United States.

Hattie’s parents, Henry and Susan McDaniel, both enslaved at birth, were among the early wave of “Exoduster”

Black migrants who moved from the Jim Crow South to Kansas to seek greater freedom and opportunities in the 1870s. The McDaniels later moved from Wichita to Denver, and for a brief time in the early 1900s lived in Fort Collins at 317 Cherry Street.

Both Henry and Susan were gospel singers and

several of their children grew up to be talented performers. Hattie rose to fame as a radio performer on Denver’s KOA station before moving on to pursue work in vaudeville and eventually a successful Hollywood film career. She is most remembered for being the first Black American

to win an Academy Award for her 1939 role in Gone with the Wind.

Hattie is also recognized for her civil rights activism as a participant in the groundbreaking 1945 “Sugar Hill” lawsuit that ended restrictive racial covenants in her Los Angeles neighborhood.


Mattie Lyle challenged discrimination in a movie theater in 1939, winning her case just a decade after the peak of Ku Klux Klan activity in Fort Collins. For most of her life in Fort Collins, her and her family lived here at 312 N. Meldrum Street.

In 1925, they gained new neighbors at 310 N.

Meldrum, William and Mattie Lyle, a young couple from Kansas, moved to Fort Collins in 1925, first moving into a small house at 310 N Meldrum. William and Mattie held teaching degrees but nonetheless worked as janitors while they lived in Fort Collins. In 1932, the Lyle family (William, Mattie, and

daughter Joyce) moved into the property at 312 N. Meldrum.

In 1939, while they lived here, Mattie visited the newly opened State Theater at 153 N. College Avenue with her family and was not provided full access to the facility. With supporting testimony from her husband,

daughter, and a friend, she successful sued the theater owner, L.C. Snyder, for discrimination and a jury awarded her damages.

Mattie’s decision to pursue justice through the legal system is notable in light of her family history: her great-great uncle was Bird Gee, took a

discrimination case against a Kansas hotel to the United States Supreme Court in 1883. She was also a cousin to Loren Miller, the well-known civil rights attorney who represented Hattie McDaniel and others in the 1945 “Sugar Hill” restrictive covenants lawsuit.


John Mosley was a star football athlete at Colorado Agricultural College (now Colorado State University) and a Tuskegee Airman, serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II after he graduated. While attending CAC, Mosley first lived at a house at 421 Smith Street before moving to

a segregated boarding house at 238 North Meldrum Street that housed all ten of CAC’s Black students at the time.

Mosley was a Denver native and attended Manual High School where he was a star athlete. That compelled him to attend the Colorado Agricultural

College where he also played football, being the only Black player in the entire Mountain State Conference at the time.

He graduated in 1943 from the veterinary medicine program and was drafted into the military, being assigned to the artillery despite holding a private pilot’s license. He eventually

was able to get transferred to the Tuskegee Army Air Force Base in Alabama, where he graduated from the flight school in 1944 and served for the remainder of World War II as a 2nd Lieutenant. He remained in the Air Force Reserves and was recalled for combat missions in Korea and

Vietnam before retiring in 1970.

Alongside his military service, Mosley and his wife Edna were both advocates for African Americans in the Denver metro area and beyond, focusing on public health and anti-discrimination.


Virgil Thomas lived at this address in the late-1930s and is believed to be the first Black graduate of Fort Collins High School in the class of 1941. The red house to the north is a City Landmark – the first to protect Black History in Fort Collins.

Virgil’s parents, John and Mamie Thomas,

resided at this property from approximately 1933 to 1940 before moving, and later purchasing, the house down the street at 316 Cherry. During Virgil’s time at Fort Collins High School in the late-1930s, most Black families in the city lived in this neighborhood near the intersection of Meldrum

and Cherry Streets. Through a combination of social networks among Black families, and housing segregation imposed by White realtors and property owners, this neighborhood remained where most Fort Collins Black families lived from the 1900s to the 1940s.

Virgil was a star left tackle on the Lambkins football team–the only Black player on the team and one of the few Black students in the school district. When not at school or on the football field, Virgil was also a boxer and the starting pitcher for the Fort Collins softball club, the Reserves until 1941.

Virgil left Fort Collins in 1941 to attend Wilberforce College in Ohio on a football scholarship and served as an infantry corporal during World War II in Italy and Germany. John and Mamie remained in their home at 316 Cherry until sometime after 1968 when John passed away.










This year we are a continuing our partnership with The Homeward Alliance (previously, Project Homeless Gear) to
continue the spirit of recognizing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy of always putting his people and their needs
before his own. We are asking for donations of clean, slightly used clothing items. Specifically, we would like to collect
jeans, sweaters, sweatshirts, hoodies, winter hats, scarves, gloves/mittens, and/or new winter socks. The donated items
will be sorted for distribution during our annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration held on Monday, January 16,
We ask that you consider donating to this cause and or join us in our efforts to serve the Fort Collins community,
by putting a collection box out in your location. We are hoping to have all items collected by Wednesday, January 11,
2023. To honor your time and effort, we will come to you to pick up items when needed. When your box reaches
capacity just reach out to Duan Ruff at 720-569-0298 or

Thank You to Our Collaborators