News Release

2019 Red River Valley Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Combines with We Are Water Exhibition Kick-off

By Cassandra Morthera on
Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The 7th Annual Red River Valley Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will be held on Monday, January 21, 2019, at the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMN Crookston). This year’s event, is partnering with the Minnesota Humanities Council for the kick-off of the “We are Water” Exhibit, which will run through March 4, 2019.

The day’s activities begin at 10:30 a.m. with the annual Unity Walk beginning at the Crookston Inn and ending at the Kiehle Building on campus. This year's grand marshal for the Unity Walk is Bishop Michael R. Cole, Gospel Outreach Ministries Church of God in Christ, Grand Forks, N.D. A celebration program in Kiehle Auditorium will follow the walk with an opening selection by an American Indian drum group under the direction of Emery St. John from Fargo, N.D.

Highlighting the program are remarks by Jennifer Tonko, program officer with the Minnesota Humanities Center, greetings by UMN Crookston Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause, student leaders, and elected officials. A variety of performances will take place, including excerpts from Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech read by UMN Crookston international students in various languages, traditional dances, among others. The keynote address will be given by Shirley Nordrum, University of Minnesota Extension Educator in water resources management for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. Furthermore, the "Tatanka Nagi," Spirit of the Buffalo, Drum Group with Emery St. John from Fargo, North Dakota, will be performing along with the Epic Praise Team from Grand Forks, N.D., and a solo by alumna Dr. Kari Torkelson singing the Negro Spiritual "Precious Lord, Take My Hand."

To conclude the program, the recipient of the Spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr., Diversity Award will be announced followed at 12:30 p.m., by a lunch social in Brown Dining Room, Sahlstrom Conference Center. 

About UMN Crookston

One of five campuses that comprise the University of Minnesota System, the University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 35 bachelor's degree programs and 25 minors on campus as well as 16 degree programs entirely online. These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. Visit

About UMN

The University of Minnesota System, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research, and community-engaged outreach, and we are unified in our drive to serve Minnesota.



Cassandra Morthera

University Relations


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