This year marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Monday is the federal holiday observance of King’s birthday (his real birthday was Jan. 15), but South Sound gatherings will commemorate the occasion all weekend.
• The City of Lakewood will hold its 10th annual event from 10 a.m-noon at the Sharon McGavick Conference Center at Clover Park Technical College, 4500 Steilacoom Blvd. Admission and parking are free.
The theme is “World War II: Discrimination at Home, Patriotism Abroad.” Featured speakers include Sam Mitsui, a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and two famed Tuskegee Airmen, retired Col. Al Knight and retired Lt. Col. Ed Drummond. Representatives of the World War II Philippine Scouts will also be on hand.
• The Conversation, a South Sound grass-roots group committed to social justice, will hold an interfaith service and program from 2:30-4:30 p.m. with a reception to follow. It will be held at Urban Grace-The Downtown Church, located at 902 Market St.
Dexter Gordon, professor of African-American Studies at University of Puget Sound, will return as keynote speaker. There will be theatrical performance, gospel singing and drumming. An awards ceremony will recognize local residents for their leadership in social justice causes.
• Bates Technical College students and staff and community members will begin their traditional march to the city celebration at 10 a.m. The marchers will gather at 9 a.m. for refreshments at Bates’ downtown campus at 11th Street and Yakima Avenue. A shuttle will return the marchers to the campus following the event.
• Tacoma’s big event runs from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center, 1550 Broadway. The event is free, but visitors are encouraged to bring donations of nonperishable food for a food drive.
Clayborne Carson, executive director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University, will be the keynote speaker.
Carson, who participated in the March on Washington, contributed to the initial design of the King memorial in the nation’s Capitol. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, selected Carson to edit and publish her husband’s papers.
• The University of Puget Sound’s celebration will occur from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Schneebeck Concert Hall on campus.
A free talk will be given by John Carlos, a U.S. Olympian whose Black Power salute with another athlete on the podium of the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City garnered international attention. Carlos is a founding member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights.Staff report