Michael Benitez Jr., chief diversity officer at the University of Puget Sound, will speak at two Martin Luther King Jr. events Tuesday in the Black Box Theatre at Edmonds Community College. (Contributed photo)

Michael Benitez Jr., chief diversity officer at the University of Puget Sound, will speak at two Martin Luther King Jr. events Tuesday in the Black Box Theatre at Edmonds Community College. (Contributed photo)

Music, oratory and volunteerism planned to honor MLK legacy

“There’s no greater time than now to honor Dr. King’s vision,” educator and poet Michael Benitez says.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy will be commemorated around Snohomish County through music, oratory and volunteer activities. Monday is the federal holiday honoring the late civil rights leader, who was born 90 years ago on Jan. 15, 1929.

Tuesday: Edmonds Community College will present two sessions of its Martin Luther King Jr. program, “Using the Arts to Engage and Create Peace.” Activist and educator Michael Benitez Jr. will deliver the keynote speech. Programs are at 12:30 p.m. (for students) and 7 p.m. Tuesday. (7 p.m. event open to the public, but free tickets required; reserve at www.blackboxedcc.org). Both events at the Black Box Theatre in EdCC’s Mukilteo Hall, 20310 68th Ave. W., Lynnwood.

Benitez is the chief diversity officer, dean of diversity and inclusion, and Title IX coordinator at the University of Puget Sound. A poet with a love for spoken word, he established the Diversity Monologues at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania.

“The arts provide freedom to express and talk about the issues of inequities and injustices,” Benitez said Monday. “There’s no greater time than now to honor Dr. King’s vision.”

Wednesday: A “DIY Advocacy Day,” 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday in EdCC’s Triton Student Center, Brier Hall, will help people learn their rights and how to engage in activism. Brier Hall is at 20122 68th Ave. W., Lynnwood.

Thursday: Free workshops on the topic of “Creating Peace Through Our Multicultural Identities” to be offered 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday in EdCC’s Center for Student Cultural Diversity and Inclusion, Brier Hall, room 154, 20122 68th Ave. W., Lynnwood.

Sunday: The 35th Annual Reverend Dr. MLK Jr. Greater Everett Community Celebration, organized by the Snohomish County Black Heritage Committee, scheduled for 3-5 p.m. Sunday at Bethany Christian Assembly, 2715 Everett Ave., Everett.

King County Councilman Larry Gossett is the keynote speaker. A Seattle native and University of Washington graduate, Gossett was among the founders of the UW’s Black Student Union. Elected to the King County Council in 1993, he spearheaded the campaign to change King County’s logo from a crown to a likeness of King. It was adopted by the council in 2007.

Event includes music by the Everett MLK Celebration Choir, Terrance Kinlow, Paul Stoot Jr., Theresa Gooden, saxophonist Jacqueine M. Cobbs, Jazz Digga and Willie Will. The Rev. Brian Harpell, former pastor of Everett’s First Baptist Church, will speak on the theme of “Maintaining Unity, It’s Right and It’s Good.”

Sunday: The 14th annual Whidbey MLK event, “Blessed Are the Peacemakers,” is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Sunday at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, 5217 Honeymoon Bay Road, Freeland. Organized by the St. Augustine’s Episcopal Peace Fellowship, the event includes interactive readings with a focus on racism and slavery. The event’s theme is “The Beloved Community: The Fierce Urgency of Now.” The Rev. Carla Robinson will speak on the topic of “Emerging Beloved Community.” Karl Olsen, music minister at Trinity Lutheran Church on Whidbey, will lead the singing.

Monday: For the MLK National Day of Service, the public is invited to volunteer 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Lynnwood Senior Center, 19000 44th Ave. W., Lynnwood. Tasks include resurfacing the Mesika Trail, removing invasive plants, cleaning vehicles, and creating posters for an elementary school. Sign up at: www.eventbrite.com/e/mlk-day-of-service-tickets-30860275916

Monday: Join EdCC’s Center for Service Learning for a day of volunteering 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday at Gold Park, 6421 200th St. SW, Lynnwood. Light lunch and refreshments provided.

Monday: “Our Beloved Community” (morning program), 10 a.m.-noon Monday, free tribute to King in song, spoken work and dance. Family-friendly program features the Northside Step Team, Kaleidoscope Dance Company, Youth Voices, 2018 EdCC oratory contest winner, and UMC Joyful Noises Choir. Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 Fourth Ave. N., Edmonds.

Monday A Tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (evening program), 7:30 p.m. Monday. Featuring Gloria Burgess, CEO and president Jazz International; the Sound of the Northwest Choir, directed by Juan Huey-Ray; Barclay Shelton Dance Centre; Price Arts Dance; Josephine Howell & Band; presentation of Beloved Community Award. Admission $10, students $5, or $12 day of program, Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 Fourth Ave., N. Edmonds. Tickets: 425-275-9595 or www.ec4arts.org.

Jan. 24: 9-11 a.m., Honoring Dr. King’s Legacy of Action, Advocacy 101 trainings, United Way of Snohomish County, 3120 McDougall Ave., Everett. Also offered 4-6 p.m. Feb. 21. Free, registration required. Sign up at: http://getconnected.uwsc.org/event/ or contact Lark Kesterke at lark.kesterke@uwsc.org.

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