A prayer vigil for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the State Capitol steps carries voting rights message

Jan 17, 2022, 7:47 AM | Updated: Feb 23, 2023, 1:21 pm
Martin Luther King Jr. vigil...
Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking against the Vietnam War, St. Paul Campus, University of (Minnesota Photo: Minnesota Historical Society)
(Minnesota Photo: Minnesota Historical Society)

SALT LAKE CITY — A small group of Utahns gathered at the State Capitol Sunday evening. The group held a prayer vigil in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Speakers addressed issues such as voting rights. The national holiday will be celebrated in a variety ways across the country and in the Beehive state.

Betty Sawyer is the President of the NAACP chapter in Ogden. She told KSL TV, “Dr. King being a minister first, we thought it was appropriate to hold a prayer vigil in his honor. In light of everything that’s going on in Utah and in the country, it’s definitely a time for prayer.”

The vigil was live streamed to Utah Black Roundtable’s Facebook page for those who were unable to attend.

On the steps of the State Capitol, Sawyer said the Ogden NAACP chapter supports voting rights legislation. 

“Dr. King says it is always right to do what’s right. Protecting our voting rights is what is right to do right now, not next week, not next year,” said Sawyer. 
Sawyer referred to states implementing legislation that she views as restrictive to voting rights, something she said “all of us should be encouraged to do.”
In addition to remembering Dr. King Sunday evening, Sawyer told KSL TV the group is also praying for Utah’s lawmakers as they prepare to open the Legislative Session this week.
Ogden NAACP is hosting four other events on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day. 
2022 marks the first year that national parks across the county are waving admission fees in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day. This means all of Utah’s national parks will have free admission to the public. People can enjoy free access to parks, weather permitting.
Contributing: Martha Harris

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A prayer vigil for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the State Capitol steps carries voting rights message