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Tacoma unites for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

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This year, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day will be observed on Monday, Jan. 16. People of all races, religions and genders will be taking time from the mundane-trenches we call life to observe the legacy that this great man imparted on our nation. Starting as early as the Sunday just before this holiday, there will be gatherings of community and fellowship for a common belief. Spanning nearly half the week, here is a list of a few events aimed and remembering and celebrating this great man. ​
The “​11th Annual MLK Jr. Redeeming the Prophetic Vision” is being presented on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2:30 p.m. at Urban Grace Church by “The Conversation” and in collaboration with the church and Associated Ministries. Traditionally, it has served as a collaborative effort of community-focused, and faith based, volunteers and artists attempting to illuminate the inequities and other hurdles in modern day society. Alongside multi-faith blessings and calls for peace and unity, the event will feature live art expressions via spoken word poetry and live music focused on civil rights and equal justice for all. It is free to the public, and all are invited to attend and share in the message being offered.
The goal of this event is to express the need for actively promoting and reiterating Dr. King’s message of the betterment of singular and social justices. In conjunction with the observance, to local activists will be honored with a Social Justice Award. These men are ​Henry Lyle “Hank” Adams and Dean Jackson. Hank Adams, Sioux-Assiniboine, is a local social justice activist whose long-standing work has been instrumental in working to assert and protect local Native American fishing and hunting rights. Dean Jackson is founder and director of Hilltop Urban Gardens (HUG) located in the landmark Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma, which serves as an example for the locals on how to work to create and promote food sovereignty and re-connection to the soil by simply changing the lives of local people on the margins of our community.
On Monday, Jan. 16 at 8 a.m., the “2017 MLK Jr. Unity Breakfast” will be hosted by University of Washington-Tacoma, located in​ ​the University Y Student Center. Local artistry, community involvement, and peer recognition are the happenings here, including a presentation of the Dream Awards and a keynote speech from Erin Jones from the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Please come down and get involved – only you and your community will benefit from you participation in this year’s event.
Also on Jan. 16, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., will be the the City of Tacoma’s Annual MLK Celebration​ at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center. This year, Dr. Maxine B.
Mimms will be honored with the prestigious 2017 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award, which is presented each year during the city’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday celebration before an average crowd of approximately 2,000 attendees from the community.
​“Dr. Mimms embodies the mission of Dr. King through her extraordinary dedication to opening doors of higher education to the diverse community in Tacoma,” said Committee Chairwoman Erin Lee. “Our event theme is ‘Beloved Community’ and we gave special consideration to nominees whose work focused on understanding our community and its needs, and delivering solutions.”
The event will feature keynote speaker Harold Moss, Tacoma's first African American Council Member and Mayor. Moss has been active in the Tacoma community since the 1950s when he was a member of the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He served two terms as president of the branch. The celebration will include exhibitions of all types – music, dance and poetry – that highlight the strength, resiliency and creativity of young men of color. Performances will focus highly on Dr. King’s relationship with the communities he affected, how he challenged and changed our nation's very fiber, and his message to honor the dignity and rights of every person, no matter their differences to you or me.
The following day the University of Puget Sound is inviting the community to come together for their annual​ ​Martin Luther King Celebration. ​Everyone is welcome to the free evening. Keynote speech will be delivered by Julianne Malveaux, a renowned labor economist, author and commentator who will be shedding light on the current state of our country’s stance in equality and our perception of it. Described by author and activist Cornel West as “the most iconoclastic public intellectual in the country,” Malveaux’s truly embraces views on race, culture, gender and economics that are helping shape public opinion in 21st-century America. Malveaux’s keynote talk, plus messages from the Puget Sound community and the presentation of the Keep The Faith Alive Award will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 17 from 7-8:30 p.m., in Schneebeck Concert Hall on campus. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. No tickets are required.

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