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Martin Luther King march in Iowa City promotes unity

Dozens brave cold to show value of people joining together

Parade marshals (from left) Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague, Human Rights Coordinator Stephanie Bowers and Mayor Pro Tem Ma
Parade marshals (from left) Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague, Human Rights Coordinator Stephanie Bowers and Mayor Pro Tem Mazahir Salih lead the third annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day march in Iowa City on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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IOWA CITY — About 60 people, including many elected officials, bundled up against Monday’s cold to march for blocks on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to let the community know the organizers “welcome everyone at the table.”

The third annual Rally and Peace March began at Eastdale Plaza, 1700 S. First Ave., and continued up First Avenue and down Bradford Drive to the Mercer Park Aquatic Center, where events continued with food, entertainment and other activities.

Grand marshals for the march were Stephanie Bowers, Iowa City human rights coordinator; Iowa City Mayor Pro Tem Mazahir Salih, the nation’s first Sudanese city council member; and Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague, only the second black man in city history to hold that position.

“Dr. King really wanted love to be at the forefront of what he did,” said Teague, evoking King’s Aug. 28, 1963, March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. “We’re going to do this through love and let Iowa City know we love and welcome everyone at the table.”

The event was organized the Black Voices Project, which is led by Royceann Porter, Johnson County’s first black Board of Supervisors member. Porter said the march was intended to promote unity in the community.

“This unity march is all about us just coming together,” Porter said.

Comments: (319) 339-3155; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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