Tacoma Honors MLK, Jr. in Birthday Celebrations

Tacoma will host its 28th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration on Monday, Jan. 18th, at the Tacoma Con­vention Center. In celebration of King’s birthday, which takes place on the 15th, the city hosts this event annually to com­memorate an “ordinary man making an extraordinary change.” This family-friendly event is expected to draw roughly 2,000-3,000 people. The doors will open at 10 a.m. and the event begins at 11 a.m. The event is expected to end at 1 p.m.

The official goal of this event is to “celebrate Monday, Jan. 18th, as a day on, not a day off.” The theme of the event is “Ordinary Men, Extraordinary Change.”

The event will feature Dr. William Bell as the keynote speaker. Bell, who is the president and CEO of Casey Fam­ily Programs, created a movement that focuses on eliminating violence in American cities against African Amer­ican men and boys. The national move­ment, titled Cities United, was also cre­ated to promote leadership and creative endeavors within the African American community.

According to the official event web­site, this celebration will also include music, dance, and poetry in order to “highlight the strengths, resiliency, and creativity” of young people of color. King’s relationship within the commu­nity and how he challenged our nation’s laws will also be highlighted, as well as how he set out to make people of color equal in the eyes of everyone in Amer­ica.

The event is planned and coordi­nated by the City Events and Recogni­tion Committee. They serve as an “ad­visory and action committee on matters pertaining to special recognition pro­grams.” Their goal is to plan and lever­age funds for events such as the one described.

An award, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award, will be presented to a member of the Tacoma Community that encouraged excellence throughout the year by partaking in a service event or activity.

This event features free on-street parking by the convention center and locally at Freighthouse Square located at 2501 East D St. There will also be complimentary parking stalls at a first-come first-served basis at the convention center.

If you are unable to attend the event, the celebration will be televised live and covered on TV Tacoma, which is carried by Comcast on Channel 12. The channel, however, is not only available through Comcast. Another service provider, Click!, will also be televising the event on channel 12.

Another event highlighted specifi­cally within our campus that touches on King’s birthday is a breakfast celebra­tion on campus. The Black Students Union and the Division of Student and Enrollment Services at UWT will also be hosting an event to commemorate King’s birthday. The MLK, Jr. Unity Breakfast will take place on Jan. 18th at 8 a.m. at the University Y Student Cen­ter. The theme of the event is “the spir­it of justice in a new generation.” Ac­cording to the events page at, the breakfast is a continued tradition on its tenth year dedicated to celebrating “the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and his historic civil lead­ership that inspired a nation to strive for equality.” The keynote speaker in­vited to the event, Keith Beauchamp, is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker. The breakfast is expected to end at 10:30 a.m.