When Martin Luther King Jr. was in the thick of his fight for civil rights, there were only a few people he considered his confidants.
One was the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Another was Julian Bond, the current chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
This year, Bond will be the keynote speaker for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day events in Scottsdale.
"Having him come and talk about civil rights, now and then, is very consistent with the theme of living the dream," said Don Logan, chairman of the MLK Planning Committee in Scottsdale.
Bond will speak about the importance of equitable treatment of all citizens before high school students from seven local school districts at 2 p.m. Monday at Saguaro High School.
Logan said the city plans the events before the holiday so Scottsdale students have better knowledge about the man responsible for their day off.
Bond also will deliver a speech at the city’s annual MLK celebration dinner at 6 p.m. Monday at the Chaparral Suites ballroom, 5100 N. Scottsdale Road, where two Scottsdale citizens will be recognized as Diversity Champions.
For the first time in 12 years, tickets for the dinner have sold out. Those who want to attend next year can join the city’s waiting list.
"So many folks come together. So many from different geographic locations, different ages, genders and races," Logan said. "They all come together under the same roof, and for the most part, that is the dream of the vision (King) had."
Other events include the Peace and Community Day from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 15 at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. Second Street. It will feature activities for children, food booths, live music and a reenactment of the historic Rosa Parks bus experience.
Traditional African music and dance will be provided by African Tam Tam. The godfather of Valley reggae, Walt Richardson, will perform with the Peace Warriors. Admission is free.
Arizona State University’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. contest winners will be on display from Jan. 16 to 31.
The poster and essay entries come from schoolchildren around the state and will be available for viewing at ASU’s three campuses and in the west lobby of the state Capitol.