Civil rights icon to be remembered in celebratory parade in Portales

By Tony Parra

Portales will commemorate one of our nation’s most remembered civil rights leaders with festivities over the weekend.
The 19th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration begins at 10 a.m. with a parade which begins on South Avenue O and Second Street to Abilene to the Memorial Building.
Veda Urioste, the mistress of ceremonies for Monday’s presentation of recognition and awards in the Memorial Building, is a member of the Cultural Affairs Committee. Urioste, Oscar Robinson and Joan Martinez-Terry are vital parts in putting the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration together.
“The committee was formed in 2000, but we had been working on Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations before we formed the committee,” Martinez-Terry said. “Oscar was instrumental in promoting (the committee) to the council. We could not request funding without a structure and he asked them to do it.”
Urioste said that in previous years the parade began on 18th next to the recreation center and made its way down on 18th to Abilene. This is the second year it will go through the downtown area.
The festivities on Saturday are highlighted by a gospel music choir workshop between 1 and 4 p.m. Dr. Barbara Wesley Baker will perform in the Black Gospel Choir Extravaganza.
“We had a talent show last year,” Urioste said. “Oscar Robinson’s sister knew her personally and she mentioned her to Oscar. They started talking to her and she agreed to come in. We are really excited to have her. I’m looking forward to the concert.”
The workshop will consists of the Portales, Clovis, Eastern New Mexico University, Lindsey Middle School choirs and the Clovis Unity Mass choir.
“We will have about 100 participants during the workshop,” Urioste said. “We had to purchase music for the event. We needed to buy seven different pieces of music for each individual in the choir. It was well worth it.”
Dr. Baker, a conductor and educator, who conducts for the Chamber, Women’s, Men’s, Concert Chorale and Gospel Choirs at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C. She has conducted master classes at the Toronto International Music Festival and the Choral Music Experience/British Choral Institute in Hertfordshire, England.
“It’s a great way to honor him,” Martinez-Terry said. “It’s also a great way to promote the diversity in the community. We (Portales) are a diverse group.”

A Day On, Not A Day Off
Saturday
> 10 a.m. — Community parade begins at South Avenue O and Second Street to Abilene to the Memorial Building. (All participating entries line up at 9 a.m.)
> 1-4 p.m. — Gospel Music Choir Workshop “Black Gospel Choir Extravaganza” at the Campus Union Building Ballroom at Eastern New Mexico University.
> 7 p.m. — Mayor Orlando Ortega Jr. will read a proclamation.
7:10 p.m. — Attendees of workshop will give a concert at the CUB Ballroom at ENMU.
Sunday
> 5 p.m. — Time of prayer given by Rosalind Curtis to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. at the ENMU fountain.

Monday
Memorial building
> 10 -10:15 a.m. — Mistress of ceremonies: Veda Urioste.
> 10:15-10:20 a.m. — Invocation, Tom Sullivan.
> 10:20-10:30 a.m. — America the Beautiful, Jennifer Poyer.
> 10:30-10:45 a.m. — Presentation of volunteer awards, Delores Penrod.
> 10:45-11 a.m. — Presentation of float, art and poem contest awards.
> 11-11:10 a.m. — Recognition of law enforcement and fire departments.
> 11:10-11:50 a.m. — Clovis Unity Mass Choir, solo by Terrance Lee, Praise Dance by Takisha Phillips.
> 11:50-11:55 a.m. — Benediction, Tom Sullivan.
> Noon — Tacos and soft drinks.