2 downtown Tacoma events will mark MLK Jr. Day

Tacomans will have the opportunity to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day this month at two downtown Tacoma events.

Tacomans will have the opportunity to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day this month at two downtown Tacoma events.

First, the University of Washington Tacoma will host the Unity Breakfast to celebrate 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech. The breakfast will feature local performing artists and community Dream Award recipients. The keynote speaker, Carolyn McKinstry, will share her experiences as a survivor of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963 and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. The event will be held on Mon., Jan. 21 between 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. at the University of Washington Tacoma, William W. Philip Hall, located at 1918 Pacific Ave. Tickets are $15 in advance ($10 for UW Tacoma students). Tickets at the door are $20 for everyone. Space is limited to first 300 paid registrants. More information is available online here.

Later that day, the City of Tacoma will host the 25th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, located at 1500 Broadway, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dr. Clayborne Carson, executive director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University, will be the keynote speaker at the event. Carson, who participated in the March on Washington in 1963 and contributed to the initial design of the King Memorial in Washington, D.C., was selected by the late Coretta Scott King to edit and publish Dr. King’s papers. He is touted by the national media as one of the United States’ top authorities on the work of the late civic rights leader.

Also to be featured at the event is the photography of Bernard Kleina, who is widely considered to be one of the most respected advocates for fair housing in the United States. Kleina has served as the executive director of the award-winning HOPE Fair Housing Center in Illinois for over 36 years, and his photography has been exhibited across the country and in Europe.

In addition to free on-street parking and free parking at Freighthouse Square, which is easily accessible via LINK light rail from the Convention Center stop located directly in front of the event venue, there will also be signage and personnel directing event attendees to designated complimentary parking stalls that will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis at the following locations: Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center (1500 Broadway); Pacific Plaza Garage (1125 Commerce St.); and Park Plaza North (923 Commerce St.).

Organizers anticipate the City of Tacoma event will draw more than 3,000 attendees around the Pacific Northwest region. There is no fee to attend this event, however, attendees are encouraged to bring donations of non-perishable food items for the MLK Food Drive benefitting the African Methodist Episcopal Food Pantry based in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood.

More information is available online at cityoftacoma.org/mlk.

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