Community comes together to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


The 32nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Birthday Celebration in Tacoma will once again bring the community together to celebrate Monday, Jan. 20 as a day on, not a day off. This year’s theme is “Vision 2020: Beyond the Dream.”
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 (1500 Commerce St., in downtown Tacoma). The celebration will be televised on TV Tacoma.
During the celebration, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award winners will be announced and honored. 
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. 
The Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration program is spearheaded by a City Council-appointed City Events and Recognition Committee. The Committee is comprised of local community leaders from a broad array of backgrounds and areas of expertise.
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The 14thannual Martin Luther King Jr. “Redeeming the Prophetic Vision” event will be on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2:30-4 p.m. at Urban Grace Church, 902 Market St. A reception featuring social justice organizations will immediately follow. Both are free and open to the public.

This all-volunteer organized interfaith and inter-congregational community event is organized by The Conversation in partnership with Associated Ministries and Urban Grace Church.

This event 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.

As part of the efforts to fulfill these goals, organizers offer a distinctive community event that is intergenerational, multi-ethnic and participatory, including blessings from multiple faith and wisdom traditions; spoken word and music addressing civil rights and justice theme; a dramatic piece written and directed by playwright C. Rosalind Bell; and a keynote message from Dr. Dexter Gordon, distinguished professor and director of the Race & Pedagogy Institute and of African-American Studies at the University of Puget Sound, and other local voices on how to extend Dr. King’s radical vision through individual and community action.

“The MLK ‘Redeeming the Prophetic Vision’ service is a powerful call to justice for our city that seeks to not merely memorialize the life of Rev. Dr. King, but uphold his prophetical call to justice,” said Rev. Ben Robinson, Urban Grace Church. “We come together as a community to share the sacred responsibility of committing to the vital work of justice in our world.”

“Enlightening, provocative and motivating…inspires me to stay the course in the war for political and social justice,” said community advocate and retired teacher Eve Bowen.

During the service, persons with the annual Social Justice Award will be honored, recognizing their long-term work in the areas of civil rights and social justice. 

There will be a reception hosted by Tacoma Dominican Associates immediately following the service featuring more than 20 local community organizations working for justice. 

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