Stillwater remembers Martin Luther King, Jr.'s vision for justice and equality

(STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA / Dec. 30, 2020) –– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy will be commemorated in a series of events Jan. 10-20. The series, “King’s Vision 2020,” has been organized by Stillwater Community United (SCU), Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, OSU Division of Institutional Diversity, the City of Stillwater and the Stillwater Public Library.

The series begins on Sunday, Jan. 19, at 2 p.m. with a screening and discussion of the film “King in the Wilderness” at the Stillwater Public Library. This award-winning documentary is a portrait of the final 18 months of King’s life. It highlights rarely-seen footage that shares new perspectives about King, his internal struggles and his concerns for the future. Popcorn and drinks will be provided.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day festivities take place on Monday, Jan. 20. The community is invited to convene at the Stillwater Public Library at 6:30 p.m. to march in unity to the Community Center. The commemorative service starts at 7 p.m., and includes music, speakers and refreshments.

Attendees will hear vocal performances by the Martin Luther King Community Choir. Directors from local churches, including Mt. Zion, First Presbyterian and First Methodist, have been working to bring together diverse voices.

Representative Trish Ranson, one of the featured speakers, believes that this type of community collaboration is what makes the day so extraordinary.

“I enjoy the MLK commemoration each year,” Ranson said. “It’s inspiring to see so many different people coming together to celebrate a man who dared to speak out when he saw something wrong.”

Adam Soltani, executive director for the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), will also speak at the event. He agrees with Ranson that fellowship is essential.

“It is important to recognize that we haven’t fully achieved King’s dream," Soltani said. "But, it is also important that we come together to revisit that dream. It gives us hope and motivation when we are reminded of King’s accomplishments.”

Assessing our progress towards King’s vision is vital, according to Soltani. 

“We have moved in the right direction, but we must dig deeper. There are underlying, systemic issues of racism that were built into the foundation of our country. We must address these if we want to make a better future for our children.”

In addition to “King’s Vision 2020,” there will be other opportunities for the community to celebrate Dr. King and discuss his vision.

Early in the month, the Friends of the Stillwater Community Center will feature a “Buck and the Preacher” as a part of their ongoing series "Classic Cinema at the Center" on Friday, Jan. 10, at 7 p.m. The film is a western from 1972 that follows a former soldier as he leads wagon trains of African Americans from Louisiana into Kansas in the late 1860s. The movie examines the trials faced by African Americans in the post-Civil War era.

All MLK Jr. Day events and related activities are free and open to the public. For more information, visit