Equity and justice highlighted at 2019 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration  

On Thursday, Jan. 10, King County’s 32nd annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration was held at The Sanctuary Seattle in downtown Seattle. The event focused on a unifying theme, drawing from a popular Dr. King quote, that truthfulness and love can have a profound impact on the world: “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.” 

Executive Constantine shared how the event theme aligns with the work King County is doing to achieve equity and social justice for all residents. 

“Dr. King’s reference to unconditional love underscores that our struggle for racial justice requires both our minds and our hearts,” said Executive Constantine. “In King County, in the county that bears Dr. King’s name, we are more determined than ever to continue this quest.”

The event featured keynote speaker Ijeoma Oluo, the local New York Times bestselling author of “So You Want to Talk About Race” as well as commentary from several King County officials. The King County Native American Leadership Council provided a Land Acknowledgement. Rose Dotson, Executive Assistant with the Department of Assessments and member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee, and Matias Valenzuela Director of the King County Office Equity and Social Justice, opened and closed the ceremony. King County Executive Dow Constantine and Councilmember Larry Gossett also spoke throughout the event, welcoming guests and introducing the keynote speaker.  

Additional performances were given by Michael Hepburn, a King County Prosecuting Attorney in the Civil Division, and Sharon Nyree Williams, a spoken word artist. Michael played piano and led the audience to sing the opening and closing event songs, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “Yes, We Can.” Sharon performed lively original poetry, inspiring the audience and eliciting several cheers. 

For more information about the annual celebration of King County’s namesake, visit the King County website. View photos and video of the event below.