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Luncheon celebrates 60 years after Brown vs. Board of Education

Pocatello woman honored at NAACP luncheon

POCATELLO, Idaho - The Pocatello branch of the NAACP held its annual Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon Saturday. This year marks a special landmark year - 60 years since the Supreme Court ruled on the case of Brown vs. Board of Education which ended segregation in schools.

Several prominent faces were in the crowded room at the Clarion Inn, included Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad and Chubbuck Mayor Kevin England, both of whom declared next week MLK Jr. week in Pocatello and Chubbuck.

"We have a tendency to focus on the few things that make us different instead of the many things that make us alike," Mayor England said.

The recipient of the Ron Timpson award this year, Rita Haggardt also talked about her experience in Washington D.C. serving an Idaho Congressman during the time of MLK Jr.'s assassination. She said she's always been one to be involved, especially in one specific Pocatello service.

"It's called My Brother's Table, and we welcome people in need or welcome anyone who needs a meal, every Sunday,' Haggardt said. "I really thrive on helping others. I was taught to be that way. I ring the bells for the Salvation Army, I'm very involved in Zonta and Kiwanis and I'm the chairman of the board for Pocatello Neighborhood Watch."

She joked, that at 70 years old, she's just as old as the Pocatello branch of the NAACP, but she says that doesn't stop her from focusing on the needs of the younger generation.

"I was touched by the student essays today because of how kids are feeling," she said. "I'm a real advocate for kids."

Those student essays read Saturday discussed bulling and discrimination of all different kinds. But they all got to the same point: change starts with one small act, spreading hope to others who also do their own small part of make a big difference.

Haggardt said that's why she enjoys being a part of the NAACP. She said the agency advocates more rights for more people than ever before.

"It's my understanding that ours has a lot of Caucasian members because of where we're from," Haggardt said. "It's about the advancement of not only of people of color, but of all people."

Martin Luther Kind Jr. Day falls on Monday, Jan. 20 this year. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968. 

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