Wednesday, June 28, 2017 This Week's Paper

Words and action

// The 5th annual 'Redeeming the Prophetic Vision Event' aims to stir discussion on economic and social justice issues.

The Conversation, in partnership with Urban Grace Church, will present its annual “Redeeming the Prophetic Vision” event on Jan. 16 to discuss economic and social justice issues that were inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and vision.

“We’re a group of Tacoma and South Sound residents committed to the building of a diverse, critically engaged, social justice community for the task of procuring for ourselves and our communities a better life,” Laurie Arnold, member of The Conversation and the planning committee for the event, said.

Based on the founding principal of “With Justice For All,” The Conversation has two primary focuses: providing encouragement and support for social justice activists and promoting justice in a variety of areas such as the legal system, wages, housing, healthcare, and education.

The Conversation began in 2005 stemming from a book study of King’s “Why We Can’t Wait,” and the group continues to meet weekly on Sundays to study, support and discuss working toward justice on a number of relevant issues.

“We were struck by the power and relevance of King's analysis and many of us discussed having grown weary of what seemed watered-down celebrations of his life and legacy. We decided that we would pull together an event that would really highlight the radical, prophetic vision that MLK had for a transformed America.”

Thus, “Redeeming the Prophetic Vision” was born, and has been continuing ever since to bring a new type of celebratory event for MLK Jr. Day in Tacoma.

The event has four main aspects composing it this year. The event will include a keynote address led by Dr. Dexter Gordon, African American Studies Professor University of Puget Sound; interfaith blessings; a dramatic interpretation and presentation by writer and playwright Rosalind C. Bell; and the Civil Rights Honor Roll, which honors local individuals for their long-term commitments – often gone unrecognized – to the cause of civil rights and human dignity. Interspersed with these main facets of the event will be inter-generational and multi-genre musical and vocal selections from soloists, gospel choirs and spoken word artists.

Following the event, attendants can look forward to a reception complete with food prepared by local youth volunteers under the supervision of an experienced chef.

A community resource fair will also be available after the event to allow attendants the ability to get involved with a local cause that they want to support after the day’s activities. A dozen community based organizations that provide a wide array of services pertaining to social justice issues including reproductive health, access to higher education, food security, racial issues and more will be present to speak about opportunities to volunteer and support.

Anyone who feels the need to be reinvigorated in their desire to seek and execute change in the world should attend the event and meet others who share their visions, as well as get more involved in their city. The non-denominational event is free and open to the public.

“Everyone should come,” Arnold said, noting “the focus is on re-inspiring and reinvigorating us to work for social justice in our lifetime.”

“Redeeming the Prophetic Vision” takes place Jan. 16 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. at Urban Grace Church, located at 902 Market St. downtown. There will be a reception with music, food and opportunities for networking with social justice organizations immediately following the program. For more information, visit and