MLK Jr. Peace March scheduled for this evening

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Apr. 4—URBANA — A march honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and calling for peace, originally planned for Jan. 15, will take place today at 5:30 p.m., starting at King Park.

This is the fourth annual MLK Jr. March for Peace organized in part by the Urbana Rotary Club, and it sounds like the April date may stick for future events.

"We determined maybe there's a better time of the year that could maybe guarantee a little better consistency with the weather," said Tim Bartlett, executive director of the Urbana Parks District.

"Although tomorrow, we're not sure — we're still going to be watching."

Bartlett said to keep an eye on social media for any changes in plans as the weather forecast updates; the final call should be made by 4 p.m. at the latest.

April 4 is the anniversary of MLK Jr.'s assassination.

This year's march has expanded from previous events in an attempt to include more of the Champaign community as well by trekking over to the Douglass Center as the second destination.

Both cities' mayors are slated to speak, as well as representatives from both police departments and other city officials.

At the first stop, a new public art piece by local artists JaNelle Davenport-Pleasure and Lisa Kesler called "May Peace Prevail" will be revealed.

"One of the couple of goals we (Urbana Rotary) are wanting to achieve in working with the park district is creating symbols of peace and events and opportunities for people to come together and learn more about peaceful activities," Bartlett said. "So we thought the idea of creating something locally, putting it in the park as a symbol and then celebrating it as a part of our Martin Luther King Peace March would be a really good idea."

The Urbana Free Library has provided a MLK Jr. exhibit for people to check out at the Douglass Center during that part of the event.

People who want to join the march but do not want to walk will be able to take a bus from King Park to the Douglass Center and then back to the park after the event wraps up.

"Whether it's peace concerns within your household, your family, your neighborhood, your block, your city, the country or really across the globe, whatever motivates people to want to promote peace, certainly we encourage them to come out and be with us," Bartlett said.