Colorado lawmakers honor King in, outside Capitol

January 21, 2014 Updated: January 21, 2014 at 10:20 pm
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Marchers turned out in force Monday for the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Marade, transforming City Park, Civic Center and points in between into festive gatherings with calls for peace, justice and equality. (Associated Press photo)

DENVER - A record number of GOP members participated in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day march and parade that ended at the state Capitol on Monday, while Democrats introduced a resolution in the House to honor King on Tuesday.

The participation by Republican politicians in the "marade" was the result of the "relentless" efforts of Derrick Wilburn and his Colorado Springs-based group, American Conservatives of Color.

"The GOP has not been showing up in ethnic-minority communities for most of my lifetime," Wilburn said in a radio interview before the march. "Then they sit and wonder, 'Why aren't we connecting with those voters?' People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care - the problem black communities have with the GOP is we feel as if they don't care."

Wilburn said the events on Monday were a great opportunity for the GOP to show how much they care.

On Tuesday, Rep. Tony Exum, D-Colorado Springs, introduced a joint resolution in the House that honored Martin Luther King Jr. for his life and his fight for freedom, equality and justice.

Exum said he has stood on the shoulders of those who fought for equality in the U.S., both as a fire battalion chief in Colorado Springs and now as a state representative.

The tribute to King passed the House unanimously and then the Senate.

There are five black lawmakers in the House: Reps. Exum, John Buckner, D-Aurora; Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora; Jovan Melton, D-Aurora; and Angela Williams, D-Denver.

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