And in a perfect world, "I would be watching the game on the 15th," he said.

So would Del. Guy Guzzone, a Columbia Democrat, who said he attends the King celebration every year. "As leaders of the community, we need to be there. It's important," he said.

However, he added: "I'm open to a text with the score."

Politicians face scheduling conflicts more than their constituents.


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Grey knew this was a possibility.

"I was hoping it would be at 4:30 p.m. so that people could see most of the game. But I'm sure people will be rooting the Ravens from their seats at the program."

Gray also doesn't believe it will hurt attendance. "They're Ravens' fans, but they know this program is extremely important, so they'll come."

The theme at this year's celebration at the Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center-Smith Theater is "Renewing the Dream." The guest speaker will be Jeff Johnson, an MSNBC contributor and the chief White House correspondent for TheGrio.com., an online news organization that focuses its coverage toward a black audience.

No one knows if he will update the 200 to 300 expected to attend with a score.

And if you can't decide what path to take — to watch the game on your spectacularly large flat-screen television or immerse yourself in reflection at HCC — Gray has a suggestion.

"I would tell them to come and to have full confidence that the Ravens will play again next week," he said. "We know they're going win. Their real season will start the next week."