For the past seven years, Edmonds resident and Diversity Commission member Donnie Griffin has been helping civic leaders in Seattle put on an annual Seattle prayer breakfast to celebrate the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This year, Griffin is thrilled to be working on an event closer to home — a Tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Inspiring a Beloved Community in Song, Spoken Word and Dance — set for Monday, Jan. 21 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 4th Ave. N.
“Martin Luther King Jr. talked about a Beloved Community, where you do care, where you do respect and love your neighbors,” Griffin said. “In this premier event, we seek to encourage, engage and inspire the audience through avenues of song, spoken word and dance to be caring citizens by loving our neighbors as ourselves and promoting a community standard free of hatred, injustice and poverty.”
While the event is being held in Edmonds, the goal is to involve neighbors from cities in North King and South Snohomish counties in both a free morning program for families, children and young people, and an evening tribute featuring dance, song and story telling.
The event is being organized through the Griffin-founded Lift Every Voice Legacy (LEVL), which he says reflects “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” written by James Weldon Johnson in 1900 and often referred to as the “Black National Anthem.”
The evening program, at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21 — on the federal holiday that honors King — is produced in partnership with the Edmonds Center for the Arts. General admission tickets are $10; $5 for students; and $12 day of the event.
The free morning program for children, youth and families will run from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 21 — also at the Edmonds Center for the Arts. It will feature Kaleidoscope Dance Company and Northside STEP.
Griffin says that 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. Featured performances at the evening event include:
- The Sound of the Northwest choral ensemble, directed by Juan Huey-Ray, highlighting a rich African American musical heritage in song
- Story telling from published author, inspirational speaker and storyteller Dr. Gloria Burgess, an Edmonds resident whose life stories of poverty, racism and sexism have lifted spirits around the world.
- Dance performances from Barclay Shelton Dance Center and Price Arts Dance.
- Featured vocalist Josephine Howell, a Pacific Northwest gospel, R&B and jazz singer
Griffin said there will be a Beloved Community Award presentation for local activism, and the ECA lobby will offer a variety activities and displays for families.
While the Jan. 21 event is aimed at celebrating King’s legacy, the hard work will begin after the celebration ends, Griffin said. “We plan to create a follow-up roster of those in attendance and others who wish to join the LEVL Network for ongoing educational activities and programs as a way of staying engaged throughout the year,” he said.
For tickets and information on the Jan. 21 event, contact the ECA Box Office at 425-275-9595 or online at ec4arts.org.
Sponsors include Edmonds United Methodist Church, Hazel Miller Foundation and The Campbell Auto Group Fund, Verdant Health Commission, Diana and Stephen White, and Leanne and Steve Shelton.