MLK Day events start Saturday in Lakewood, continue next week in Tacoma

Several Pierce County gatherings will honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.


The remembrances will start at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with a Lakewood march. It will be the first march the city’s had for the holiday and its 12th annual celebration.

Marchers carrying signs replicated from the 1960s will leave from and return to the Sharon McGavick Conference Center at Clover Park Technical College, 4500 Steilacoom Blvd. SW.

The free event will include a keynote speech at 10 a.m., by Dexter Gordon, the director of the African American Studies Program at the University of Puget Sound, as well as various performers.



CNN anchor Fredricka Whitfield will give the keynote address, and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, will speak.

The UW Tacoma Black Student Union started the breakfast, which also honors community members, including students, who have addressed diversity, social justice and civil rights.

The 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 will be recognized at the event.

Tickets are $20 at the door, $15 at tacoma.uw.edu/mlk, and $10 for children and UW Tacoma students.

Attendees are asked to bring non-perishable food items to support the Emergency Food Network.

The keynote speaker will be Melannie Denise Cunningham, a 42-year resident of Pierce County with experience in government, nonprofit work, media, higher education and entrepreneurship.

The event will include a performance by the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts of “11 Days in the Life of Dr. King,” which uses spoken word vignettes, dance, shadow play and historic images to chronicle King’s life and legacy.

Street and Freighthouse Square parking, at 2501 E. D. St., will be free.

Marchers will leave at 9 a.m.; a shuttle will take people back to the college at 1 p.m.

At 2 p.m., the museum will present a panel discussing “Are You a Change-Maker?” The panel of Northwest children’s book authors, illustrators and librarians will discuss “change-making and ideas of diversity as portrayed in children’s stories.”

Visitors can add pictures with short captions depicting what they believe exemplifies community and change-making to the “Community of All Colors Wall” on display in the museum’s lobby for the week.

Pictures and captions also can be sent to: schoolprograms@wshs.wa.gov and museum staff members will post them.


Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for the free event. Community members and music from the college Jazz Band will help honor King’s legacy at the 29th annual celebration.