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Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration

Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Scheduled for January 20, 2020 

The 32nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Birthday Celebration in Tacoma will once again bring the community together to celebrate Monday, January 20, 2020 as a day on, not a day off. 


Event Details

January 20, 2020

10 AM - Doors open for Community Outreach Fair

11 AM - Program begins


Take this brief survey to let us know about your experience at this year's event. 


MLK Community Service Award Winners Announced

Mayor Victoria Woodards will present two awards to deserving recipients at this year’s MLK event. Kiara Daniels, Vice Chair of Tacoma’s Citizen Police Advisory Committee will receive the Emerging Leader Award. A graduate of Evergreen Olympia, Kiara also served on the Hilltop Engagement Committee. She has volunteered with Fab-5 to drive community engagement with Tacoma Housing Authority.


The Lifetime Service Award will be presented to Tacoma Community House, led by Lauren Walker Lee with a group of staff and volunteers dedicated to providing basic human services to anyone in need of assistance. Their focus areas include Education, Employment, Immigration, and Advocacy services.


View a list of the past award recipients


If you would like another opportunity to submit a nomination, please consider one of ten categories for the City of Destiny Awards. City of Destiny nominations are being accepted through February 7, 2020, with the awards ceremony on May 28, 2020.


We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there "is" such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.” 
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


“Vision 2020: Beyond the Dream”

The City’s Events and Recognitions Committee proudly presents a program focusing on the rise of a young African-American leader and her experiences of social injustice. The program will give meaning and a call to action by carrying forward Dr. King’s vision, in which communities are encouraged to live a life of peaceful and meaningful protest to seek a better future for all.


Keynote Speaker Announced for Martin Luther King, Jr. Program

The featured keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Marcia Tate Arunga, Dean of Evergreen Tacoma. Educator, activist, and entrepreneur Dr. Arunga began her work on July 15, 2019, as the first-ever dean of Evergreen’s Tacoma program. Arunga holds a Ph.D. in Leadership and Organizational change from Antioch University, a Master's in Human Development with an emphasis in Adult Education and Human Services from Pacific Oaks College, and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Washington.


A cast of local students and volunteers will present dramatic and musical performances, including Tacoma's Vision Step Team, Jenna Hanchard, Jamika Scott, the Lincoln High School marching band, JBLM band and color guard, St. John’s Church choral group, and Tacoma’s Peace Bus.


The attending public is strongly encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to contribute to the MLK Food Drive.


Doors will open at 10 AM for the Community Outreach Fair (in Exhibition Hall Room A) and the program will begin at 11 AM (in Exhibition Hall Room B).


Available Parking

There is free holiday on-street parking and free parking at Freighthouse Square (2501 E. D Street). Freighthouse Square is easily accessible via the LINK Light Rail and stops at the Convention Center. There will also be signage directing event attendees to designated complimentary parking stalls that will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center. 


City Events and Recognition Committee

The Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration program is spearheaded by a City Council-appointed City Events and Recognition Committee. The Committee is comprised of local community leaders from a broad array of backgrounds and areas of expertise.

The City Events and Recognition Committee serves as an advisory and action committee on matters pertaining to City-hosted events and special recognition programs. Members are responsible for planning, reviewing and evaluating events, engaging the community in its fundraising efforts, and soliciting corporate and private sponsorships to leverage funds for City-hosted events such as the Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration and the City of Destiny Awards.


The Celebration Will Be Televised on TV Tacoma

The Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration is also covered and aired on TV Tacoma, which is carried on both the Click! (via Rainier Connect) and Comcast Cable systems.

Channel 12 and 512
In Tacoma City limits and Pierce County
Channel 21
University Place
Channel 12 and 321
In Tacoma City Limits and Pierce County


Other 2020 MLK Events (not all-inclusive)

January 19 – Tacoma Arts Live, Pantages Theater

Civil Rights Legacy Tour: Get on the Bus Link


January 19 – The Conversation at Urban Grace

2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Redeeming the Prophetic Vision Link


January 20 – Washington State History Museum

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Free admission and programs Link

Men of Change Exhibit-Now through March 15 Link


January 20 – Hilltop Urban Gardens

5th Annual MLK Food Sovereignty Day of Action Link


January 20 – Bates Professional Technical Employees Association

Annual March for MLK Link


January 20 – University of Washington Tacoma

Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Breakfast Link


January 20 – Metro Parks Tacoma

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Caring Link


January 25 – Earth Corps
MLK Jr. Day of Service: Trafton Restoration Site (South Tacoma)


February 1 – City of Lakewood, Harrison Preparatory School

17th Annual Martin Luther King Jr celebration Link

Event Details

January 20, 2020
11 AM

Greater Tacoma Convention Center
1500 Commerce Street
Tacoma, WA 98402

Map and Directions

Contact Information
Kala Dralle
MLK@cityoftacoma.org (253) 573-2523