SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Utah has introduced a new license plate to celebrate the iconic civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr.

The plate’s slogan is “Many Stories, One Utah,” which aims to celebrate the diversity in our communities along with honoring the legacy of King.

The plates are available for purchase starting today and can be purchased from the DMV. To celebrate the new addition, Gov. Spencer Cox, current and past MLK Commission members, and corporate sponsors will attend an unveiling of the new plates.

The plate’s artwork was designed by Utah student Eleanor Smith from Timpview High School.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Commission held a contest asking Utah students to submit artwork for the final plate design back in January of this year.

The project was led by Nubia Peña, Director of the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs, who says she and her team were privileged to bring the project to fruition.

“We are grateful for commission members and legislators who have diligently strived to elevate the legacy and principles of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to create a greater compassionate community in our state,” says Peña. “We look forward to continuing to build partnerships with leaders, advocates, and change agents that share the vision to build a Utah where all people feel seen, valued, and considered.”

How the idea started

The new plate has marked a long journey that started in 2012. Former Utah Multicultural Commission member and former Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck (D-Salt Lake City) and her co-sponsor, then-Senator Howard Stephenson, started the project. Chavez Houck says she’s grateful the project has now reached the finish line.

“I’m so pleased to see these efforts, with which I was honored to be a part when I first sponsored the initial legislation in 2012, come to fruition,” says Chavez-Houck. “At that time, Dr. Roderic Land and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, as well as the Senate sponsor for the bill, former Senator Howard Stephenson, were key to getting this project underway. I can’t wait to purchase this plate for my car!”

According to officials, “In 2020, Sen. Luz Escamilla (D-Salt Lake) and Rep. Sandra Hollins (D-Salt Lake) re-introduced the license plate bill with updated technical changes, and it again passed.

“Ever since Utahns have observed King’s birthday around the late ‘60s to early ‘70s, diverse communities sought to underscore what he really means to the continuing evolution of humanity,” says Crawford. “In Utah, we have taken the affirmative step, supplanting his endearing legacy as a beacon for all our aspiration-young and old!”

Commissioner Eddy Thompson, who oversaw the project, says, “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. summoned the best qualities that have guided and sustained the American spirit while strengthening our nation’s commitment of equality, justice, freedom, and peace. This license plate will show our nation that Utah is committed to equality, freedom, justice, and peace!”

“We bear witness today in the issuance of the MLK license plate the commitment and hard work of individuals to ensure that Utah is known as a place that is welcoming, and celebrates and embraces diversity,” says Emma E. Houston, current MLK Jr. Commission Chair. “We are proud to live in a state that honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the non-violent tenets he espoused during his lifetime.”