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Events Scheduled to Honor Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

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 Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday will be celebrated in Sandpoint at the Sand Creek Grill. Christine Holbert, owner of the Lost Horse Press is organizing an evening of readings, poetry and music. The event will be on King’s birthday Jan. 15 at 5:30 pm.

    Several local poets and personalities will participate. Gretchen Hellar will read excerpts from speeches written by King. Brenda Hammond, a local poet, will be reading some of her own poetry as well as poetry of Maya Angelou.

    Tom Davis of Spokane will read his own poetry as well as favorite selections of his on the subject of the day. Davis has been writing poetry for over 40 years. He has a Masters degree from Western Washington University and a MFA from Eastern Washington University. I talked with him by phone during the first half of the Miami rout over Nebraska, and while Tom is passionate about poetry, he’s equally passionate about football.  He kept telling me to quit working, and go over to a tavern and watch the game. I didn’t have to, though, as I was getting the game from him over the phone along with my interview.

    He was not quick to describe his poetry but Christine Holbert, his publisher, called it ‘Northwest Poetry’ often about down-and-out characters. Davis said of poetry (it is) “the most enduring and important thing happening in the world. It changes language into something with real meaning.” He went on to say that “Language is our most common element.”

    Tom feels this is a time when real change is happening in the world, not just since the events of 9-11 but “poetry helped us rebound from 9-11.”

    Davis said “I have found an enduring, profitable, loving deep quality in the black people who have benefited my life.”

    Other readers will include Lama Yontan Gonpo on Sandpoint who will be reading from The Profit. Renee D’Aoust and Susan D’Aoust of Clark Fork will read their own poetry.

    After the intermission there will be a concert by guitarist Leon Atkinson. Atkinson has done work in the civil rights movement all over the world most of his adult life. He has been an activist and has supported the movement with his musical talent.

    Leon spent several years as a top call guitarist in New York city. He has studied with André Segovia and plays classical, jazz and other favorites of his. Atkinson has been living in the Sandpoint area for many years and is host of the Guitar Hour, a weekly radio program on KPBX in Spokane.

    In Bonners Ferry, the Boundary County Human Rights Task Force is planning two events. One will be at the High School on Friday the 19th. On Monday the 21st, the King Birthday Observance, there will be a meeting of the Task Force with speakers at the Library at 7:00 pm.

    Attending events such as these are a public way to show support for the good ideals this holiday represents. Support that must start in each of our hearts, then spread throughout the community.


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Ernie Hawks Ernie Hawks is a former theater director who has branched into the creative fields of writing and photography. He lives in a cabin in Athol with his lovely wife Linda, and feeds the birds in his spare time.

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