Today, and every day, we acknowledge our industry’s complicity in upholding segregation through redlining and the painful legacy those policies left behind. As such, we recognize that Dr. King’s birthday should be honored with a day in service rather than a day of rest. We also know that the Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color, so this is the right time to give to local organizations who are providing vital support.
The City of Tacoma’s annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has gone virtual this year, but that just means it’s easier for more people to enjoy! You can watch it here on YouTube, or on Facebook or TV Tacoma tonight at 8 pm. The keynote speaker for today’s event is Dr. John Gaines, and the community service honoree is Alicia Pugh Mathurin.
Metro Parks has put together a great list of local activities here, including an exhibit on Dr. King’s only visit to the PNW, presented by the Washington State Historical society, as well as poetry writing prompts from Write 253 and an exhibit on Tacoma’s struggle for civil rights.
Although in person activities are limited this year, there are multiple locations hosting socially distanced plantings. (Dr. King was also an advocate for environmental justice). You can find information on some of those here, as well as details about the Seattle’s annual MLK Jr. day and this year’s march from Garfield High School. (Learn more about the concept of environmental justice by clicking here and here).
Another benefit of virtual celebrations is taking part in events hosted by other cities, such as the Philadelphia Orchestra’s MLK Jr. tribute concert. Registration is required; the show starts at 7 pm EST.
One of the pieces performed by the orchestra will be “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is also known as the Black National Anthem. You may want to read and reflect on the words before the show starts.
Dr. King’s birthday has traditionally been a day of service for many, but the pandemic has made that challenging. However you can still provide financial support to one of the many organizations doing work in our community. Some you may already know, like the Tacoma Urban League, United Way of Pierce County and some you may be less familiar with like the People’s Assembly.