Civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963, nearly six decades ago. Yet this past year showed in sharp relief that we still have a long way to go to approach Dr. King's vision. We have much work to do — and it's more urgent than ever — for our country to honor, value and protect Black lives.
Learn more about Dr. King's legacy of social justice work, non-violence and service with your kids by participating in Seattle-area ceremonies and events, which are mostly virtual this year. If you decide to participate in the in-person rally and march, or other in-person event, you must wear a mask and keep your distance from those outside your household. All events are free and open to the public; some require advance registration as noted.
Top MLK Day events through Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 and beyond:
Daily through Jan. 20, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.:
Take an inspirational walk through Lake Sammamish State Park in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A designated pathway displays his entire “I Have a Dream” speech, from Tibbetts Beach to the Sunset Beach Bathhouse. (A Discover Pass is required to park at Lake Sammamish State Park.)
Daily through Jan. 22, 8 a.m.–4 p.m.:
Visit a pop-up museum showcasing Dr. King and the civil rights movement (in-person event). This temporary exhibit is presented by 62nd Airlift Wing at the McChord Chapel Support Center. (Base access required.)
Thursday, Jan. 14, noon–1 p.m.:
King County hosts a virtual MLK Jr. community celebration, honoring its namesake with a discussion around the theme “Creating the Beloved Community." This event features keynote speaker Dr. Ben Danielson, former director of the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic.
Friday, Jan. 15, noon–1 p.m.:
All are welcome to join this year's rally for Dr. King presented by Kent School District and The 5th Avenue Theatre — virtually, this year. This uplifting event will feature youth performances, speakers and music.
Friday, Jan. 15, noon–1:30 p.m.:
Seattle's Mount Zion Baptist Church welcomes the community for its 48th annual celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. King (virtually this year), which features keynote speaker Matías Valenzuela, Ph.D., director of equity and community partnerships for Public Health – Seattle & King County.
Friday–Monday, Jan. 15–18, times vary:
In the spirit of MLK's service to community, sign up for a COVID-safe volunteer opportunity over the long weekend and help Green Seattle Partnership care for our greenspaces. Kids are welcome and masks are required; check for more details and sign up in advance at the website.
Sunday, Jan. 17, 2–4 p.m.:
Seattle's MLk Coalition hosts its young leaders event virtually this year. Tune in to hear from local teens about their ideas and activism.
Monday, Jan. 18, 9 a.m.–noon or 1–4 p.m.
Sign up by Sunday to harvest beets — yes, you read that right — collecting food for Food Lifeline in this volunteer opportunity from United Way of King County. Ages 4 and older welcome; masks and distancing required.
Monday, Jan. 18, 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m.:
Join the City of Bellevue for a virtual celebration and health fair honoring Dr. King. Hear from notable speakers, enjoy live entertainment and learn about local Black-owned businesses. Explore health prevention resources (and participate in Bellevue's MLK blood drive Jan. 15–29, if you're able to).
Monday, Jan. 18, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.:
Lend your voice to the Seattle MLK Coalition’s annual rally and march for justice and equality. The rally takes place at Garfield High School starting at 11 a.m.; the march begins at noon. Masks and social distancing are required; please stay home if you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID. Check out online workshops as well, taking place Jan. 12–16.
Monday, Jan. 18, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Families in the community are invited to drive by the Amy Yee Tennis Center to collect a free book and a soccer ball in a giveaway presented by the Northwest African American Museum, Sounders Rave Foundation and City of Seattle's Rec’N the Streets. Masks required for this drive-up event.
Monday, Jan. 18, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.:
Tune in to the Washington State History Museum's virtual MLK Day celebration to enjoy a mix of online programs and activities, including free, kid-focused virtual performances of “Get on the Bus” at 11 a.m. and “Ruby Bridges” at 1 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 18, 11:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m.:
Stop by the Northwest African American Museum's website to enjoy a keynote presentation featuring Dr. Eddie Glaude, Jr., showing at 1 p.m. and again at 4 p.m., and children's story hour showing at 11:30 a.m. and again at 5:30 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 18, 8–9 p.m.:
Convene online with the greater Tacoma community to celebrate Dr. King's birthday by highlighting MLK’s impact on the present and future of our communities under the theme “Collective Voices/Collective Hope.”
Tuesday, Jan. 19, 6:30–8:30 p.m.:
All are invited to tune in for the University of Puget Sound's annual MLK Celebration. Join online for speakers and a keynote address by Anastacia-Reneé, a multi-genre writer, educator, artist and former Seattle Civic Poet.
Thursday, Jan.21, 6–7:30 p.m.:
Join United Way of King County (virtually) to hear a panel of speakers discussing philanthropy's role in advancing racial equity. This event is more oriented toward adults.