A political melting pot will gather Monday at the Idaho Statehouse and offer a dramatic expression of free speech as three groups will converge on the Capitol with very different agendas.
The annual march honoring Martin Luther King Jr./Idaho Human Rights Day will wind up inside the Capitol for a noon event with Gov. Butch Otter and the Idaho Human Rights Commission.
But the traditional King/Human Rights Day rally on the Statehouse steps will be held two blocks south, at Boise City Hall. The change was made because Idaho Tea Party groups have reserved the main steps on the south of the Capitol from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for their first-ever "Convergence on the Capitol" rally.
King/Human Rights Day is a state holiday. This year's theme is “Back to Basics: Expanding the Dream." The event begins at Boise State University at 9:30 a.m., with marchers leaving for City Hall and the Capitol about 10:45 a.m.
At 10 a.m. Monday, an immigrants’ rights advocacy group, Idaho Community Action Network, has a press conference scheduled on the Capitol's east steps. The group will release a report on racial disparities in health, education and economics.
The Tea Party rally that drew 2,500 to Capitol Park in April included a number of participants strongly opposed to immigration reform. Comprehensive reform that would allow illegal immigrants a path to citizenship is a top priority of the Community Action Network.
In April, Tea Party supporters carried signs questioning President Obama’s citizenship, calling him a “communist” and urging his impeachment. Obama, of course, is the first African-American president, and the most recent winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, an honor he shares with King.
A fourth group may also join the conversation Monday afternoon. A group representing charter school families has booked the south steps from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., but hasn’t yet confirmed, according to Paul Navarro, facilities coordinator for the Department of Administration.