PHOTOS: Seattle and King County Mark MLK Day With Call for Action

story and photos by Susan Fried

King County has the rare distinction of being named for Martin Luther King Jr. While many streets bear the name of the minister, orator, and social justice leader, King County remains unusual in naming an entire region after him. So it makes sense that Seattle and King County hold dozens of celebrations honoring King’s contributions to the continuing fight for social and economic justice in the United States.

Some of the events have become a tradition. King County held its 32nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Jan. 10 at the Sanctuary in downtown Seattle. Author Ijeoma Oluo gave the keynote address.

The City of Seattle held its 5th Annual Unity Day event in honor of Dr. King Jan. 17 at Seattle First Baptist Church. Actor and writer Hill Harper gave the keynote address and said that he believed if their was one person who represented their truth and their passion it was Dr. King.

The Seattle Colleges partnered with Mount Zion Baptist Church for the 46th Annual Community Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 18 and featured a thought-provoking address by Michael Eric Dyson.

Probably the largest celebration in Seattle was the 37th Annual Rally and March held Jan. 21 at Garfield High School. The all-day event featured an opportunity fair, workshops, a rally in the Garfield gym, and a march downtown to Westlake Park for another rally followed by free buses provided by Metro back to the high school for a free meal. The theme of the event was “Affirmative Action = Justice” and supported Initiative 1000, a new ballot effort to reverse Initiative 200, which banned affirmative action in 1998.

When Dr. King was invited to Seattle in 1961 by his friend the late Rev. Samuel McKinney, he was not allowed to speak at First Presbyterian Church. Although he spoke at several other venues, he would probably be amazed at how beloved a person he has become to the people of Seattle and King County.

MLK March and Rally

mlk 2019 sse 7-1_
Thousands of people participated in the 37th Annual March from Garfield High school to downtown Seattle on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (Photo: Susan Fried)
mlk 2019 sse 8-1_
A group of people hold signs near Seattle Central College as the annual MLK March from Garfield High School to downtown Seattle passes by. (Photo: Susan Fried)
mlk 2019 sse 5-1_
Thousands, including children, marched from Garfield High School to downtown Seattle. Many carried signs that read “Affirmative Action = Justice” in support of Initiative 1000 that, if passed, could reverse Initiative 200, which ended affirmative action in Washington in 1998. (Photo: Susan Fried)
mlk march 2019=sse misc 1-1_
Marchers crowded Seattle streets, often carrying hand-made signs to promote a message of social justice. (Photo: Susan Fried)
mlk 2019 sse 6-1_
The annual march draws activists, social justice organizations, and families, young and old, to fill Seattle streets each January. (Photo: Susan Fried)
mlk 2019 sse 14-1_
A group of children watch the speeches at Westlake Park Downtown at the end of the annual MLK march from Garfield High School. (Photo: Susan Fried)

King County Annual MLK Celebration at The Sanctuary

king county mlk celebration 1-1_
Writer Ijeoma Oluo gives the keynote address during King County’s 32nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Jan. 10 at The Sanctuary. (Photo: Susan Fried)
king county mlk 5_
A standing room only, audience stands up and claps at the end of King County’s 32nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Jan. 10 at The Sanctuary. (Photo: Susan Fried)
king county mlk celebration 2-1_
Spoken word artist Sharon Nyree Williams performs at the 32nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Jan. 10 at The Sanctuary in downtown Seattle. (Photo: Susan Fried)
king county mlk celebration 3-1_
King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht enjoys the performance of singer Michael Hepburn during the 32nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Jan. 10 at The Sanctuary. (Photo: Susan Fried)
kc mlk celebration 3-1_
Michael Hepburn performs during the 32nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Jan. 10 at The Sanctuary. (Photo: Susan Fried)
king county mlk_
King County Councilmember Larry Gossett introduces keynote speaker Ijeoma Oluo at the 32nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Celebration Jan. 10 at The Sanctuary. (Photo: Susan Fried)

Unity Day

unity day 1-1_
Rapper Yirim Seck performs during the City of Seattle’s 5th Annual Unity Day in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 17 at Seattle First Baptist Church. (Photo: Susan Fried)
unity day 2-1_
A little girl listens to Keynote speaker Hill Harper during the City of Seattle’s 5th Annual Unity Day in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 17 at Seattle First Baptist Church. (Photo: Susan Fried)
unity day 5_-1_
Actor and writer Hill Harper delivers the keynote speech at the City of Seattle’s 5th Annual Unity Day in honor of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 17 at Seattle First Baptist Church. (Photo: Susan Fried)
unity day 4-1_
From left, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, Mayor Jenny Durkan, and Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold stand for the National Anthem during the City of Seattle’s 5th Annual Unity Day in honor of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 17 at Seattle First Baptist Church. (Photo: Susan Fried)
unity day 5-1_
Trenton Walker performs “Lift Every Voice and Sing” at the City of Seattle’s 5th Annual Unity Day in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 17 at Seattle First Baptist Church. (Photo: Susan Fried)

Mount Zion Community Celebration

mt zion mlk _19 8-1_
All Voices led by DaNell Daymon and Greater Works sings during the Seattle Colleges 46th Annual Community Celebration of Martin Luther King Junior Jan. 18 at Mount Zion Baptist Church. (Photo: Susan Fried)
mt zion mlk _19 3-1_
Members of the audience clap to the performance at the Seattle Colleges 46th Annual Community Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 18 at Mount Zion Baptist Church. (Photo: Susan Fried)
mt zion mlk _19 10-1_
North Seattle College Professor Paul Kurose presents Iesha James the Rev. Samuel McKinney Scholarship at the Seattle Colleges 46th Annual Community Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 18 at Mount Zion Baptist Church. (Photo: Susan Fried)
mt zion mlk _19 16-1_
Hundreds of people filled the pews for the Seattle Colleges 46th Annual Community Celebration of Martin Luther King Junior Jan. 18 at Mount Zion Baptist Church. (Photo: Susan Fried)
mt zion mlk _19 19-1_
Eddie Rye Jr. shakes hand with his friend Michael Eric Dyson after the renowned professor, writer and commentator spoke during the Seattle Colleges 46th Annual Community Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. at Mounti Zion Baptist Church in Jan. 18. (Photo: Susan Fried)

Featured Image: Several men lead the people in chants on the annual MLK March from Garfield High School to downtown Seattle on Jan. 21. (Photo: Susan Fried)

We'd Like to Hear Your Thoughts:

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s