MLK Day family program in Edmonds celebrates Dr. King’s legacy

Dancers from the Grupo Folklorica Nuestras Raices perform in the main ballroom.
Emily Minichiello dances with her dad to the infectious Caribbean rhythms of Steel Magic Northwest.
Katala McLaurin, 4, from Everett, creates some individual beadwork in the arts and crafts center.
Volunteer staff assembled the makings and instructed the young visitors in preparing healthy snack, including English-muffin pizzas.
Michelle Bear, Edmonds Bookshop owner, was on hand with a selection of books focusing on Dr. King and his legacy.
Jennah El Mourabit tries her hand at the tenor steel drums.
Evy (left) and Ari Leute from Edmonds work at the arts and crafts tables.
Instructors from Edmonds’ Barclay Shelton Dance Studio held special dance workshops for young visitors.
Naby Camara and his balafon perform in the EWC main ballroom.
Amara George, 7, from Edmonds, checks out the books that will be raffled off later in the morning.

For the sixth straight year, the Edmonds community came together to honor, celebrate and remember the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King on what would have been the civil rights leader’s 95th birthday.

This year’s event is broken into two parts: a free morning program at the Edmonds Waterfront Center aimed at families and children that included food, music and activities, and a ticketed evening program featuring speakers and awards presentations.

Spearheaded by the Edmonds-based Lift Every Voice Legacy (LEVL), the annual event is a key piece of LEVL’s mission to inspire, embrace and sustain Dr. King’s dream of a beloved community. LEVL promotes grassroots involvement centered on love, social and economic justice, fosters a dynamically nourishing environment free of hatred, injustice and poverty, and is inclusive of all people.

Donnie Griffin, president and founder of the Lift Every Voice Legacy, is the driving force behind Edmonds’ annual MLK Day celebrations.

“We were a bit concerned about the forecast of cold weather but were fortunate to be blessed with a beautiful day that brought people out from not just Edmonds but all over the region,” said Donnie Griffin, president and founder of LEVL and the driving force behind these events. “The sun brings out and builds on the joyous feeling of what’s happening here today.

“It’s quite a task pulling this together, but what really captures my heart – and keeps me going – is looking out and seeing kids and families from all over the area representing the full range of economic backgrounds, colors and creeds come together in this one place to connect, embrace and celebrate Dr. King’s message and values,” Griffin explained. “This is what keeps the dream alive.

“There’s no question that the world and our community are going through some rough times, from the tragic conflicts in the Middle East to last week’s senseless shooting right here at home,” he continued.  “We can’t just excuse this in a beloved community – we have to do better and press against this hate with love.  As Dr. King taught us, love is the only thing that can extinguish the flame of hate.”

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

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