As Martin Luther King, Jr. Day approaches, Americans prepare to celebrate the life and legacy of one of the more important civil rights leaders of recent history. In remembrance, organizations across the South Sound will host events relating to King’s work and the protection and furtherance of civil rights today.
Here is a summary of the major MLK events around Tacoma:
Lakewood’s 10th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
For an exploration of the rich history and culture present in our communities, attend this celebration on Jan. 19, at the Sharon McGavick Conference Center from 10 a.m. to noon. The center is located at Clover Park Technical College, 4500 Steilacoom Blvd, Lakewood.
Admission to this event is free. The program will include live music by local performers, an essay by the winner of the Clover Park School District MLK essay contest and speeches by minority veterans of World War II. For more information contact Jo Ethel Smith at (253) 584-4673 or Dennis Higashiyama at (253) 589-2489.
The 7th Annual “Redeeming the Prophetic Vision” MLK Interfaith Service
For a spiritual look at King’s vision and how it can inspire social justice advocates today, join dedicated community members at Urban Grace Church, located at 902 Market St. in Tacoma, on January 20 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Speakers from various faiths and institutions will participate in the service, which will be punctuated by acts from local artists and an awards ceremony for the Civil Rights Honor Roll Awardees, now in its seventh year. This award is given to nominees having served our community for 10 years or longer in the fields of civil rights and social justice. This year's recipients are Sallie Shawl, the Reverend David Alger, Lyle Quasim and Rosalund Jenkins.
Afterwards, there will be a reception with free food and a chance to meet with representatives from social justice organizations. This event is being presented by The Conversation, a group of Tacoma/South Sound citizens who meet weekly on Sunday at noon, at the Tacoma Urban League at 2550 Yakima Ave., Tacoma, WA 98405. For more information, go to http://www.conversationtacoma.blogspot.com.
The Dream is Still Alive: 50 Years and Counting
Join the community, local performers and a figure of the civil rights movement to celebrate the 50th anniversary of King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. This breakfast event will feature award presentations to community leaders and a speech by Carolyn McKinstry, a survivor of the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham and a current civil rights advocate. Join her on Jan. 21, from 8-10:30 a.m. at University of Washington-Tacoma’s William W. Philip Hall. Space is limited to the first 300 paid registrants, so reservations are recommended. Advance tickets cost $15 for general admission, $10 for UWT students and $5 for children age 10 and younger. Tickets are $20 at the door, space permitting. Reservations are available at http://www.tacoma.uw.edu/mlk.
**Celebrating Dr. King: One Man, One Dream, One **Legacy
This event will feature a keynote address by Dr. Clayborne Carson of Stanford University. Carson is widely regarded as a top authority on King’s work and will offer a perspective on civil rights issues past and present. In addition to Carson’s speech, attendees will view the photography of Bernard Kleina. He is an advocate of fair housing in the United States, and his photography has earned exhibitions across the country and in Europe. The event will be held at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center in downtown Tacoma. The program will begin at 11 a.m. and last until 1 p.m. on Jan. 21. Admission is free, but donations of non-perishable food items will be accepted. Information is available at http://www.cityoftacoma.org/mlk"cityoftacoma.org/mlk.
University of Puget Sound’s 5th Annual Day of Service
More than 200 University of Puget Sound students plan to volunteer at more than 15 organizations on Jan. 21. After working from 1-4 p.m., volunteers will attend a reception from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Rasmussen Rotunda in the Wheelock Student Center. The next day will feature a celebration and talk from John Carlos, a 1968 Olympian and founder of the Olympic Project for Human Rights. The event begins at 7 p.m. at the Schneebeck Concert Hall on campus.
Free Admission at the Washington State History Museum
For a day steeped in history and art, visit the Washington State History museum on Jan. 21. Admission is free all day, from 10 a.m. to 5p.m. A special program begins at 2 p.m. It will feature commemorative civil rights exhibits and a Book-It Theater performance of the play “Never Forgotten.” For more information, call 1-888-BE-THERE or visit http://www.WashingtonHistory.org"www.WashingtonHistory.org.