Please join me today, Jan. 14, for MLK Day Celebration

Dear fellow King County employee,

I am writing to invite you to the 2021 King County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration today, Thursday, Jan. 14, from noon to 1 p.m.

While public health guidance won’t allow us to gather in person this year, I, along with the MLK Celebration Planning Committee, the Black/African Affinity Group, the Native American Leadership Council, and Council Chair Claudia Balducci, are hoping that you will join us to honor the life and legacy of our County’s namesake, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This year’s event comes at a time when Dr. King’s challenge to America to grow up and grow out of its stunted adolescence and live up to its promise should be ringing loudly in all our ears and guiding our every action. It also comes at a time of hope and opportunity, when the calls for racial justice and an end to systematic racism have finally been heard; when we are accelerating our equity and social justice work, and reorienting our priorities, policies, and budget in order to meet our True North  – a welcoming King County where all people can thrive. 

I am committed to using my position to advance this critical work, pressing harder to implement the transformational pro-equity and racial justice work that we have begun here in Martin Luther King Jr. County. On the heels of 2020, a year like none of us has ever witnessed, we must move with urgency to truly honor and continue the work of Dr. King.

I am honored and proud to have Dr. Ben Danielson join us as our keynote speaker at the 2021 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration. Dr. Danielson is a staunch advocate for the health and well-being of children and families, especially those with low incomes. He is a nationally recognized leader on health equity and dismantling systems that continue to perpetuate harm, particularly toward low-income and Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities. He is a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington. For 20 years, he served as the medical director of Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, based out of Seattle’s Central District, a historically Black neighborhood. He also helped found the Washington Medical-Legal Partnership, which trains doctors to recognize when societal forces outside the examination room contribute to health problems. Dr. Danielson continues to have profound impact on our county’s equity work through Best Starts for Kids and the Children and Youth Advisory Board.

I also look forward to honoring Gerald W. Donaldson, a Family Support Worker at Leschi Elementary School and recipient of the First Annual Larry Gossett Service Award which honors former Councilmember Gossett’s service to the people of King County. His leadership exemplifies the values and work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

To join our celebration, please visit the 2021 King County MLK Celebration website today, Thursday, Jan. 14, from noon to 1 p.m. You can also tune into KCTV Channels 22 and 322 (HD) at noon today.

Please stay strong and stay safe and plan to join us for this important event where we will honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his values, and ongoing legacy in our community and work.


Dow Constantine
King County Executive