Keep the Dream Alive

Events in observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday will unfold throughout the greater Tacoma area next week. TAM Photo by Benjamin Benschneider Tacoma Art Museum’s Benaroya vista gallery, along with the new Benaroya Gallery, will be unveiled to the public Jan. 19. The vista gallery will become TAM’s interface with Tacoma’s urban landscape. File Photo
Events in observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday will unfold throughout the greater Tacoma area next week. File Photo

Every generation, it seems, has to join the struggle for human progress. Some generations break new ground, while others are called to consolidate and shore up hard-won gains, standing guard against forces that would work to reverse the tide of progress. In our own time, the hard-fought victories for the expansion of voting rights to more and more Americans are being undermined by things like the judicial roll back of the Voting Rights Act and by efforts to restrict access of portions of the citizenry from the ballot box.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, officially observed on the third Monday of each January, is a good time not only to celebrate our national civil rights hero, but to renew our resolve to devote our good will and our votes toward a nation in which all of its citizens are afforded equality of opportunity and equal justice under the law. Nothing more, and nothing less.

Here in Tacoma, there are a number of opportunities for us to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His life and his legacy can be memorialized by attending gatherings in which music, art and inspiring rhetoric are the order of the day. Participation in activities that do service in the community is another popular way of observing Dr. King’s legacy. All of it is geared to energizing us with the resolve to further the work that he started and to keep his dream alive.

Following is a listing of the many King Day events that area residents can attend to celebrate one of our national heroes:

City of Lakewood 
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
Saturday, Jan. 19, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Harrison Prep Academy, 8800 121st St. S.W., Lakewood

Join the City of Lakewood to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at its 16th annual ceremony. Note this year’s location change: Harrison Preparatory School. Like years past, the 2019 event will celebrate Dr. King and those in our community who exemplify his work. There will be live performances by Clover Park School District students, a tribute to local civil rights advocates JoEthel Smith – founder of the city’s MLK Celebration – and the late Claudia Thomas. Charles L. Carson will give the keynote address. Info:

Martin Luther King, Jr. Redeeming the Prophetic Vision 
Sunday, Jan. 20, 2:30-4 p.m.
Urban Grace, The Downtown Church, 902 Market St., Tacoma

Martin Luther King, Jr., Redeeming the Prophetic Vision is an annual, all volunteer-organized, interfaith community event. It seeks to honor Dr. King’s radical call for peace and justice for all people by helping our community to shine the light of his vision on our current local, national, and global situation; re-imagine unity across difference; renew our shared commitment to the path of social justice; and reconnect with peace and justice activists and advocates across our community. This inspiring event is produced by The Conversation in partnership with Associated Ministries and Urban Grace Church. Info:

2018 MLK Unity Breakfast 
Monday, Jan. 21, 8-10:30 a.m.
University of Washington-Tacoma Y Student Center,1710 Market St., Tacoma 

The annual MLK Unity Breakfast will be held to recognize and celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his historic civic leadership that inspired a nation to strive for equality. This gathering honors the message of Dr. King and the progress he continues to inspire. The keynote speaker is Dr. Boyce Watkins, one of the world’s leading financial scholars and social commentators.

The Unity Breakfast was established by the Black Student Union to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King and inspire members of the campus community to continue to work to make his vision of an equitable society a reality. The program recognizes students, faculty and community members for outstanding service to the community through the Dream Awards, which are presented during the program. 

This year’s Unity Breakfast is co-presented by the Black Student Union and UW-Tacoma. Info:

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Caring: Whittier Park
Monday, Jan. 21, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Whittier Park, 921 Contra Costa Ave., Tacoma

Do you ever think about how you are connected to your local parks and the critters in it? Pierce Conservation District does! That’s why they’re inviting you to help make Whittier Park a better place for nature and people in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. With Martin Luther King Jr. Day coming up, the PDC has been thinking about what he said about our interconnectedness.

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny.” – M.L.K. Jr

In that spirit, let’s strengthen that “network of mutuality” this MLK Day and improve this hidden nature oasis so that it can be a getaway from urban sprawl for the people and the critters we love. Activities include: trail building; adding a layer of wood chips to help sustain the plants through the winter and into the summer; and removal of harmful plants. The PDC will provide all the training you’ll need. Bring water, warm clothes that can get dirty, and your friends and family.


4rd Annual Food Sovereignty Day of Action
Monday, Jan. 21, 9 a.m.
Brotherhood Empowering People in Community, 2136 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma 

Hilltop Urban Gardens (HUG) will honor MLK’s vision of a beloved community. “The core value of the quest for Dr. King’s Beloved Community was agape love… love seeking to preserve and create community.” Building on MLK’s vision of nonviolent actions for radical change, HUG focuses the day’s work on connecting with neighbors by doing a variety of activities: building new accessible raised bed gardens, starting seeds for HUG and local farmers, transplanting strawberries, spreading wood chips, and more. This year HUG will also be showing clips from the new documentary “Since I’ve Been Down.” 

This is a multi-generational event and very family friendly. There will be indoor activities in case of stormy weather.

Mobilizing the support offered to HUG each year, this will be a great day of action honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and helping HUG grow for our communities. Accessibility, other questions, or more information: or (253) 642-7336.

Meet at Brotherhood EPIC to view the documentary and hear from a panel of former and current Hilltop residents, and then split into work teams for the Day of Action. Indoor activities, pastries, coffee, tea and lunch will be at this location. 

Sign in starts at 9 a.m. Schedule of the day is TBD based on participation. This is an awesome day for team building. Groups are encouraged. Info:

4th Annual Community March for MLK
Monday, Jan. 21, 9 a.m. 
Bates Technical College, 11th St. and Yakima Ave., Tacoma

MLK’s legacy of service lives on in Bates College’s annual March for MLK. Join college employees, students and countless community members to march to the City of Tacoma’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. 

Marchers meet at 9 a.m. for refreshments at the college’s downtown campus cafeteria. At 10 a.m., the group begins marching to the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration held at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center. A shuttle will be available to return marchers to the downtown campus before the city’s celebration at 11 a.m. and after the city’s celebration at 1 p.m.

Schedule: refreshments in the cafeteria at 9 a.m.; march begins at 10 a.m.; community celebration at the convention center at 11 a.m. Info: (253) 680-7178;; 276173426425830

City of Tacoma Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. 
Birthday Celebration
Monday, Jan. 21, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Greater Tacoma Convention Center, 1500 Commerce St., Tacoma 

The 31st annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) birthday celebration in Tacoma will once again bring the community together to celebrate Monday, Jan. 21, as a day on, not a day off. This year’s theme is “We’re Better Together.” 

The doors open at 10 a.m. The free event kicks off with a community outreach fair from 10-11 a.m. and the main MLK Celebration event will start at 11 a.m. at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center. The celebration will be televised on TV Tacoma. During the celebration, City of Tacoma will announce and honor the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award winners. 

There is free holiday on-street parking and free parking at Freighthouse Square (2501 E. D St.). Freighthouse Square is easily accessible via the LINK Light Rail and stops at the Convention Center. There will also be signage directing event attendees to designated complimentary parking stalls that will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center. Info:

Washington State History Museum Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration
Monday, Jan. 21, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Washington State History Museum, 1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma 

The museum is free and open to the pubic all day in honor of Dr. King. See a small panel exhibition detailing Dr. King’s visit to Washington state in the 1960s. Join WSHM in the auditorium at 2 p.m. when their partners from Tacoma Arts Live will celebrate Dr. King’s legacy with a performance of “Ruby Bridges.” As part of Tacoma Arts Live’s Civil Rights Legacy Tour, “Ruby Bridges” is educational, family-friendly, and full of song and dance. Info:

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