Bill Rauch, The Oregon Shakespeare Festival's new artistic director, will be the keynote speaker for Ashland's 20th anniversary Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration.




The event will encourage a community-wide recommitment to the ideals of civil rights and social justice through non-violence, compassion and courage, event organizers said.




Southern Oregon University Professor D.L. Richardson will again serve as the event's master of ceremony. Keeping with the tradition of the community celebration, Ashland public school students, SOU students, OSF actors and other community groups will contribute songs, dances and dramatic performances. Multimedia excerpts from King's speeches and video archives will punctuate the program.




King's volunteers signed a commitment card during the Birmingham Campaign, outlining the principles of the movement. In honor of his work, audience members will be given a commitment card and invited to carry his message forward.




The celebration will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. Monday at the Historic Ashland Armory on the corner of Oak and B streets.




The celebration is produced by a group of community volunteers and sponsored by the Ashland School District, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the City of Ashland, Jefferson Public Radio and Southern Oregon University. The event is free and open to the public. People are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to Rogue Valley food banks.




Seating is always limited and available on a first-come basis. The doors will open at 11:30 a.m. All ages are welcome but parents are urged to stay with their children during the event.