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Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

                                                   - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Recipients of the 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Awards Announced 

Lifetime Service - Alicia Mathurin, Annie Wright Schools Director of Community Engagement and co-founder of Tacoma Community Market, featuring black-owned businesses.


Emerging Leader - Joy S. Wilde, 12-year old founder of www.storiesforequality.com and recipient of Seattle Mariners' 5-Year Scholarship for excellence in Softball Playing and school accomplishments.


Mayor Woodards' Special Recognition - Shalisa Hayes, Advocate for mothers who have lost children to violence, Tacoma activist and driving force behind bringing the Eastside Community Center to life.


Read the full press release here. 


Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Scheduled for January 18, 2021

The 33rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Birthday Celebration in Tacoma will once again bring the community together to celebrate on Monday, January 18, 2021, as a day on, not a day off.


The theme of year’s celebration is “Collective Voices/Collective Hope.”


Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the City of Tacoma will present a virtual format of the celebration that will be released on multiple platforms. The new format will highlight the present and the future of Dr. King’s impacts on our community. The pre-recorded program will feature local performers and speakers who work and volunteer to insure our community represents equity and hope. 


TV Tacoma will premiere the program on Monday, January 18, 2021, at 8 PM. The program can be viewed online and streamed live on Facebook at facebook.com/cityoftacoma. It will also be played on TV Tacoma which is carried on both the Click! (via Rainier Connect) and Comcast Cable systems. The event will continue to be televised throughout January.


How and Where to Watch TV Tacoma


Keynote Speaker and More

Dr. John “PUSH” Gaines will deliver the keynote address this year. Dr. Gaines is a professional speaker, author, leadership consultant, and mentorship expert who has devoted himself to the world community. His goal is to give hope to others because his own story grew from hopelessness; he believes in the power of perseverance and teaches others to “keep pushing” through life’s obstacles to become the best version of themselves. Growing up surrounded by drugs and violence, facing personal struggles, and being bullied for his differences, he had every reason to give up, but he pushed through.


Kwabi Amoah-Forson, creator of the Peace Bus, is launching a news kid’s show, with his friend, Simon. They are going to share some great lessons during the program, for all of the generations.


Local performers and celebrities will have brief spotlights. Be sure to tune in and plan to watch with your family.


MLK Community Service Awards-Nominations

The nomination portal is now closed. Check back here for announced recipients for 2021.


Nominate Someone for the 2021 Community Service Award

View a list of the past award recipients.


City Events and Recognition Committee

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

The City Events and Recognitions 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.


Event Details

January 18, 2021
8 PM

Watch the event on TV Tacoma or streamed live on tvtacoma.com or Facebook. It will be televised throughout January 2021 on TV Tacoma.


Contact Information

Kala Dralle
(253) 573-2523