‘When Love Changes Things’ — 5th annual tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. set for Jan. 16 in Edmonds

Leilani Miller

Leilani Miller, executive director of Millennia Ministries, will be the featured storyteller for the When Love Changes Things fifth annual Tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — Inspiring a Beloved Community in Song, Spoken Word and Dance on Monday, Jan. 16, at 6 p.m. at the Edmonds Waterfront Center.

For the first time, the event — presented by the Lift Every Voice Legacy — will present both morning and evening programs at the Edmonds Waterfront Center (EWC), 220 Railroad Ave. The event is produced in partnership with the EWC and with major funding from the Hazel Miller Foundation. General admission tickets are $15 and can be purchased through Eventbrite: levlmlk2023.eventbrite.com

Millennia Ministries, an Everett-based Snohomish County service organization is dedicated to breaking the chains of poverty, injustice and oppression by providing food, housing, clothing and spiritual enlightenment to marginalized communities. Leilani Miller’s personal story of what happens “When Love Changes Things” has set her on a lifelong path of helping others in need through social, economic and spiritual means. She is also last year’s recipient of LEVL’s Beloved Community Award for her unwavering commitment to serving the most vulnerable citizens of our community during the pandemic.

A Beloved Community – Morning Program for children and families will take place from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 16, also at the Edmonds Waterfront Center. Admission to the morning program is free and will feature local performers in addition to a variety of fun activities specially designed for children and families.

Both morning and evening programs are designed to inspire Dr. King’s vision of a Beloved Community – a local living environment free of hatred, injustice and poverty.

For a fifth straight year, there will be performances by Pacific Northwest renowned gospel, R&B and jazz vocalist Josephine Howell and her band and Barclay Shelton Dance Centre. Richard Taylor Jr., an Edmonds author, mental health advocate and highly sought-after national speaker, will serve as a co-host and personal storyteller. The Greater Everett MLK Celebration Ensemble also will be featured in the program with a special opening performance.

Donnie Griffin

Donnie Griffin, LEVL’s founder and president, calls this year’s event “an examination of hate versus love and how we are personally affected by both. Our inspiration comes from Dr. King, who said ‘By its very nature, hate destroys and tears down; love creates and builds up.’

“We can never lose focus of this higher goal of ‘love creates’ and our program is designed to lift that value up in song, storytelling and dance,” Griffin continued. “It’s a message we need right now as hate is increasingly showing its ugly face and destructive ways in churches, synagogues, mosques, airplanes, schools, social media and in public gatherings usually associated with fun and celebrations. As Dr. King has taught us, ‘Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.’”


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