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Hundreds attend King celebration at Capitol

Published On: Jan 30 2013 03:26:04 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 21 2013 07:28:35 PM CST

The widow of a leader in the Milwaukee civil rights movement of the 1960s said anyone who tries to curtail union rights is not following the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr.

The comments of Margaret Rozga, the widow of Father James Groppi, came during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at the state Capitol.

Gov. Scott Walker sat just feet away from Rozga as she said anyone who tries to curtail collective bargaining rights of workers or suppresses the right to vote "doesn't stand with us."

Her comments drew cheers from the audience of hundreds in the Capitol.

Rozga's comments were in apparent reference to Walker's proposals curbing public workers collective bargaining rights and requiring photo identification at the polls.

Walker later read an MLK Day proclamation, and he asked people to honor King in their own ways.

"Today I'd remind us all here, in the words that we've heard and the words we'll hear the rest of the day, to find ways in our own homes, in our own communities, across the state and around the world, to find ways to spread a little bit of that love to the lives around us," Walker said.

The celebration at the Capitol featured music, speeches and prayers.

In addition to the governor, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and University of Wisconsin President Kevin Reilly were among those who attended the state's 33rd annual tribe and ceremony on Monday honoring King.

Journalist and author John W. Fountain gave the keynote address. Howard Fuller, the former superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools received the MLK 2013 Heritage Award. Father James Groppi, an activist who died in 1985, also received the award which was presented to his widow.

The event featured performances from Milwaukee's Latino Arts Strings program, Ho-Chunk Native American Drum and Dance Ensemble, Malcolm Williams and the Voices of Great Faith and Madison Bagpipers.

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