PULLMAN, Wash. — Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, will deliver the keynote address Jan. 22 as part of Washington State University’s 15th annual celebration of the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dees will discuss “Hope and Tolerance for the New Millennium” during a program in WSU’s Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum set to begin at 7 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

The celebration will be held the day after the national, state and WSU Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. Its theme is “Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere.”

Dees is chief trial counsel for the center, located in Montgomery, Ala. In 2000, he helped win a $6.3 million judgment against the Aryan Nations, which had its headquarters north of Coeur d’Alene.

Dees has “long used lawsuits to destroy the finances of hate groups. In six such lawsuits, the lawyer has never lost,” according to the Associated Press.

Born in 1936, in Shorter, Ala., Dees is a graduate of the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama Law School.

Prior to the program, students, faculty, staff and community members will take part in the university’s traditional Unity March at 5:45 p.m. on WSU’s Glenn Terrell Mall. The march starts at 6 p.m. and ends at the coliseum.

Among related activities is the fourth annual MLK Holiday Food Drive set for 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on Jan. 21 at Pullman’s Safeway at Wheatland Center. Donated items will go to the Pullman Food Bank, which is housed at the Community Action Center in Pullman.

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Jan. 15 deadline for art and essay contest honoring King

Celebrating the life and teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. is the goal of the fifth annual art and essay contest sponsored by the Young Women’s Christian Association of Washington State University.

The contest — for Pullman, Moscow and surrounding areas’ K-12th grade students — is designed to honor “one of the world’s greatest activists for non-violent social change,” said Debi Robinson-Smith of the YWCA. Jan. 15 is the contest deadline.

Award winners will be recognized during the Jan. 22 celebration in the coliseum, and they will be honored during a 6 p.m., Jan. 25 banquet, part of the WSU Racial Justice Conference in WSU’s Compton Union Building. Award winners will receive gift certificates.

Winning entries will be displayed in the coliseum on Jan. 22 and through February in the Neill Public Library.

Contest materials are available in Pullman School District buildings, at the library, the Web site www.wsu.edu/~wrc/mlk.htm or by calling the YWCA at 335-3916.