One of the largest celebrations of Martin Luther King Jr. in Martin Luther King County will take place with an emphasis on safety and community at the Central District’s Garfield High School.
Over the weekend, the Seattle MLK Jr. Coalition will host a variety of virtual events plus a rally and march on Monday starting at 23rd Ave’s Garfield High School. The MLK Jr. Coalition seeks to celebrate the legacy of MLK Jr. as well as unite Seattle and King County communities.
“Every year we pick a theme, this year it was truth and education now,” vice chair of the MLK Jr. Coalition Bobby Alexander said. “Before I graduated law school, I was always frustrated that race was not a part of our legal analysis because race has such a profound impact on law. To hear a bunch of non-lawyers essentially arguing about whether it’s relevant in general education, it was infuriating to me.”
Feeding off energy from debates of critical race theory across the U.S., the coalition wanted the theme this year to address education and counter misinformation and disinformation. “Having this event is preserving and bringing the community together in face of that,” Mburu said.
The coalition wants as many people to participate in the events and march while mitigating risks safely. “The more community support we have, the better,” Mburu said.
Last year, marchers stepped off socially distanced and masked on a route from the Central District across the city. A protest effort that branched off from the march and onto I-5 brought traffic to a standstill and ended with a dozen or so arrests.
While the main march has been a peaceful and safe annual event, organizers say they stopped making the official route public due to safety concerns. The best way to get involved is to be ready to march Monday as the crowds gather around noon along 23rd Ave.
For those who can’t participate in the march physically, a livestream from RainierAvenueRadio.World will cover the march.
In 2022, MLK marches across the country are also expected to include demonstrations and calls to end the filibuster procedure and unlock voting rights legislation in the Senate that could include making it more difficult for states to impose restrictions that critics say unfairly target the poor and voters of color.
In Seattle, meanwhile, Alexander said the march must go on despite COVID-19 as it is a community meeting to remember the legacy of one of the greatest Americans of all time.
“This year it’s COVID but in any other year it could be something else,” Alexander said. COVID is an exceptional issue but it could be the same thing from the standpoint of race or economic status. There are always things that stop us from being around each other and celebrating our differences.”
The MLK Jr. Coalition hosts this event as a means to offer opportunities for all age groups. A virtual opportunity fair, youth event, and workshops will be available to all throughout the weekend.
“This march has been going on for 39 years and it comes from community roots,” Mburu said. “Social justice and taking action on things can be small but it is important to keep the message strong throughout the year.”
To learn more about volunteering and supporting the coalition, visit seattlemlkcoalition.org.
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