Unity March 1/18/19

Students from Casa Grande Union High School and middle schools in the Casa Grande Elementary School District participate in the Unity March Friday on Jan. 18, 2019, along Cameron Avenue. The march began at Len Colla Recrastion on Fourth Street and ended at city hall. The event is held annually before the Martin Luther King holiday.

CASA GRANDE — Marching to a theme of “Love is Community,” more than 1,000 students from the Casa Grande Elementary School District will walk, some carrying banners and signs, from the Len Colla Recreation Center to Casa Grande City Hall as the annual Unity March gets underway on Friday.

Students will gather at the Len Colla Recreation Center at 12:30 p.m. They will walk in a group to Casa Grande City Hall, where a unity-theme assembly will be held.

Byron Evans, a retired NFL linebacker who played for the Philadelphia Eagles and has ties to Casa Grande, is the keynote speaker for the event.

“This annual event brings in over a thousand students and adult allies that support education and civic engagement in our community,” said Mike Cruz, communications and marketing specialist for the elementary school district.

The event is held each year in celebration of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday and aims to re-create the peaceful demonstrations of the civil rights activists in the 1960s.

The students will be escorted by Casa Grande police officers, who will block off cross streets as the march heads to City Hall.

Casa Grande Mayor Craig McFarland will give the welcome address at the event and CGESD Superintendent JeEtta Gonzales will recognize students who won the unity march essay contest.

This year, the march has a hashtag, #CGStrong.

The event at City Hall is open to those in the community who would like to attend, listen to the speakers and celebrate unity, Cruz said.

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Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.

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