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Celebrating Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As we begin the New Year, mark your calendars for January 15, 2017, the birthday of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I hope you will be able to join me at two exciting events dedicated to celebrating his life and the continuing work to make his dream a reality.

Thursday, January 12: All King County residents are invited to the 2017 King County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration to celebrate the memory of Dr. King. Now in its 30th year, the MLK Celebration recognizes the impact that Dr. King had on our community and our nation, and reminds us to keep striving toward his dream of equity and justice. As stated on the 2017 King County MLK Calendar:

America owes a debt of justice which it has only begun to pay. If it loses the will to finish or slackens in its determination, history will recall its crimes and the country that would be great will lack the most indispensable element of greatness -- justice.
--Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The 2017 celebration will be held at 12pm on Thursday, January 12 at the 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave. in downtown Seattle. This year’s keynote speaker is Alexs Pate, author, professor, and founder of the Innocent Classroom program for K-12 educators. Innocent Classroom focuses on ending educational disparities by closing the relationship gap between educators and students of color. Pate launched Innocent Classroom in 2012 with a vision to rebuild teacher-student relationships in school districts with some of the nation's widest gaps in achievement. Since that time, more than 2,300 educators in 170 schools and programs have participated in Constructing the Innocent Classroom workshops. Come help us mark three decades of keeping Dr. King's dream alive!

Monday, January 16: The Martin Luther King Celebration Committee announces the 35th annual region-wide Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration. This year's theme is “Stop the Hate: Come Together.” This yearly celebration of MLK Day occurs during a time of political and social unrest. The urgent need for our communities to unite and make a positive difference have inspired this years' theme as an acknowledgment that we have yet to achieve Dr. King's "Beloved Community." In the words of Dr. King, "[a]nd so the aftermath of violence is bitterness; the aftermath of non-violence is the creation of the beloved community; the aftermath of non-violence is redemption and reconciliation."

The celebration begins at Garfield High School, located at 23rd Avenue and East Jefferson Street, in Seattle. Workshops from 9:30 to 11 a.m., Rally at 11 a.m., and March at 12:30 p.m. The March starts at Garfield High School and concludes at the Federal Building 2nd & Madison with another rally & program. For more information, please visit or email

Best Starts for Kids (BSK) Aims to Provide Equal Opportunities for All Children, Youth & Families

Brother's KeeperBest Starts for Kids (BSK), a six-year levy King County voters passed on November 3, 2015, is expected to raise approximately $65 million per year, and to invest those funds in prevention and early intervention to assure opportunities for children/young adults from 0-24 years old. It will be the most comprehensive approach to early childhood development in the nation, starting with prenatal support, sustaining the gain through teenage years, and investing in healthy, safe communities that reinforce progress.

Half of the revenue raised through BSK will be directed toward children under five years of age, pregnant women, and new parents. Research indicates the earlier we invest in the lives of infants, children and their families, the better the outcomes. There will also be funds targeting programs for children and youth ages five through twenty-four. Since human brain development continues throughout this time, it is critical to implement measures around mental health and substance abuse during this span.

I want you to be engaged and be a part of the process with Best Starts. The Implementation Plan is available for your review here.  The Plan details the BSK vision Implementation drivers, fiscal management, evaluation, Youth and Family Homelessness Initiative, and next steps. I want to know your thoughts on how this process is going. The Health, Housing and Human Services Committee will review the plan and have meetings to discuss the plan in-depth.

There will also be funding for Communities of Opportunity (COO), a placed-based initiative to improve economic opportunities, safe neighborhoods, affordable housing, and healthy food, among other environmental factors. COO is a rather unique partnership between King County and The Seattle Foundation. Research indicates strongly that, yes, place matters, just as race matters in the equitable outcomes of residents.

Councilmember Gossett featured on Prosecutor's Partners

What’s Happening in District 2

It’s Winter and there are some exciting events happening. Here are a number of events happening throughout the district you may enjoy.

University District Farmers Market
Saturdays, year round
9am - 2pm
University Way NE (the "Ave"), between 50th & 52nd streets, Seattle 98105

Skyway Solutions Board Meeting
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
5:30pm - 8pm
13470 Martin Luther King Jr Way S, Seattle, WA 98178

Skyway Solution is a community based organization with the mission to promote community-building, equitable development and neighborhood revitalization. This is the monthly board meeting. Open to the public. For more information, visit the Skyway Solutions website or contact Michael Majeed.

King County Bar Association Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Luncheon
Friday, January 13, 2017
Noon - 1:15pm
Washington State Convention Center, 7th & Pike Street, Ballroom 6E, Seattle

King County Bar Association annual luncheon is a celebration of Dr. King’s Birthday and his legacy. This year’s keynote speaker is Eugene Robinson, Washington Post Columnist, 2009 Pulitzer Prize Recipient, and author. Eugene Robinson uses his twice-weekly column in The Washington Post to pick American society apart and then put it back together again in unexpected and revelatory new ways. To do this job of demolition and reassembly, Robinson relies on a large and varied tool kit: energy, curiosity, elegant writing and the wide-ranging experience of a life that took him from childhood in the segregated South—on what they called the “colored” side of the tracks—to the heights of American journalism. His remarkable story-telling ability has won him wide acclaim, most notably as the winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for his commentary on the 2008 presidential race that resulted in the election of America’s first African-American president. Please register by January 6, tickets are $50.00, to register, click on this link: MLK 2017 Luncheon

Martin Luther King Jr. Youth March
Saturday, January 14, 2017
11am - 4pm
Martin Luther King Jr. Park
8815 Seward Park Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98118

You are cordially invited to join us for our youth led family event and Annual Martin Luther King Jr. March. March from Martin Luther King Jr. Park to the Rainier Community Center. There will be activities at the community center and dinner will be served. This year’s theme is, Honor the Cause: "First Class Citizenship for all Mankind." Free and open to all. More information:

35th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee March & Rally
Monday, January 16, 2017
9am - 3pm
Garfield High School, 400 23rd Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122

The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee presents its 35 annual tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Workshops will begin at 9:30 - 10:50am classrooms at Garfield High School; Rally at 11am in Gymnasium; March at 12:30pm This year celebration will feature the Second Annual MLK Day Opportunity Fair! Information and opportunities to learn about education, job training, & jobs! Over 50 exhibitors will include government agencies, nonprofit organizations, universities and job training programs, and private employers following the march at 1:30pm – 4pm at Garfield High School Seattle. For more information

West Hill Community Association Quarterly Meeting
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
7pm – 9pm
Skyway Fire District 20, 12417 76th Ave. So. Seattle, WA 98178

This is the monthly board meeting of residents in West Hill. Guests include representatives from King County Roads and the King County Community Service Area program. In addition, variety of community reports and information from local organizations will be presented. Open to the public. Check the West Hill Community Association website or Facebook for details. For more information contact Sonja Bowden.

King County Takes on Racial Disproportionality in our Juvenile Justice System

In 2001, King County implemented the Juvenile Justice Operational Master Plan, or JJOMP. Its intent was to decrease the number of juveniles being detained in King County’s Youth Detention Center. While we were successful in drastically reducing the Average Daily Population (ADP) from approximately 200 in 2000, to our current ADP of approximately 60 youth, racial disproportionality increased in catastrophic ways.

For example, fifteen years ago, about 36 percent of youth in our detention facility were African American. Today, African American youth account for over 60 percent of the ADP. These numbers are beyond unacceptable, and call for a new paradigm shift in our system. As a result, in the fall of 2015 we convened the Juvenile Justice Equity Steering Committee (JJESC), a group of activists, organizers, and community members unlike any King County government has organized in the past. Many of the members of the JJESC represents our incarcerated juvenile population in terms of race, ethnicity, life experience, and cultural expertise.

While dismantling racial disparity is our top priority, it is just one part of a paradigm shift we are undertaking in our Juvenile Justice system. We need to stop criminalizing our youth, since studies show the longer and deeper a young person sinks into our system, the worse the outcome. This is not only counter to what our systems are SUPPOSED to do, it is counter to our stated principles of Equity and Social Justice. For more background information on this effort please visit:

Community input on our workgroups will be critical to our success! Please check for the time and place of the JJESC monthly meetings.

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