Long-standing planning committee guides celebration to uphold MLK values

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 30th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Thursday, January 12. The event was widely attended and featured guest speakers, live music and group singing. It can be viewed online here.

A special thank you goes out to the 2017 King County MLK Celebration Planning Committee. Their hard work throughout the year culminated in a wonderful event, praised by both employees and the public. This internal, ad-hoc committee, a multi-year fixture, is currently made up of members from various departments within King County. It includes Al Sanders (King County Council), Cheeketa Mabone (Executive’s Office), John Lewis (Department of Transportation), Kathryn Schipper (Superior Court), Llonia Patterson (Department of Public Health), Michael Hepburn (Prosecuting Attorney’s Office), Paula  Harris-White (Department of Executive Services) Rose Dotson (Department of Assessments), as well as Heather Dwyer, Doreen Mitchum and Jim Kelly (4Culture).

Over the years, Committee members have enjoyed the opportunity for frank discussion around how to bring to life the ideals of Dr. King during the celebration, and throughout their work at King County.

“Working for King County reminds us of the values that he taught us about the ‘Beloved Community’,” said John Lewis. “The MLK celebration is a time to consider relationships with each other, what we believe and why we do what we do.”

While the planning Committee has always been the genius behind the celebration, this same group is also responsible for the creation and distribution of the much-loved MLK calendars. Featuring beautiful, one-of-a-kind art by various artists over the years, including Seattle artist Jacob Lawrence, and designed by talented graphic artist, Jackie Phillips (DOT) the calendars are delivered throughout the County by an informal employee volunteer network. A collection of all the MLK calendars throughout the years can currently be viewed in an office space on the second floor of the Chinook Building in downtown Seattle.

Planning the annual celebration and coordinating creation and distribution of the popular calendar has been an exciting opportunity for committee members to connect across departments and also with the community at large.

“Everyone has a task or role in this,” said committee chair Paula Harris-White. “In the past we have had essay contests or employee awards – we also provide and MLK exhibit in the tunnel between the Administration Building and the Courthouse. It’s very much a group effort.”

For more information about the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, please contact Paula Harris-White.