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An enthusiastic crowd gathered at the Paramount Theatre on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2006 , to celebrate a man and a life that has transformed a society and the world. The 2006 King County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration theme was "United for the Common Good."
Executive Sims started the program by reflecting on the past year's events, the death of Rosa Parks and the dedication ceremony renaming King County in honor of Dr. King. He spoke of the conviction of Edgar Ray Killen, who was one of those who murdered Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney in Mississippi in 1964. He introduced local attorney Rita Bender, the widow of Mr. Schwerner, who along with her husband, had gone to Mississippi to help register African American voters. Ms. Schwerner talked of the continuing economic disparity experienced by people of color and the need to unite to eliminate it.
Like last year's Keepers of the Dream segments, the monologues in this year's Celebration also illuminated women who have all strived to make the world we live in better. Through slides, words and song, the 2006 program weaved together a tribute to women from different backgrounds and cultures who have fought for the common good and who remind us that the ground on which we stand must represent, opportunity, justice and personal expression.
Performers included Patrinell Wright of the Total Experience Gospel Choir and the Black Nativity Gospel Choir, and Jacqueline Moscou, along with Naho Chika, Sally Reavis, Felicia Loud, Deborah Parker and Rose Cano. This special presentation is directed by Ms. Moscou, Artistic Director of the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center whose last show was Death of a Salesman with an all African American cast. As Artistic Associate of the Intiman Theatre, she directed the play Intimate Apparel in 2005 and shepherds the annual Black Nativity.
At the Celebration, we heard from the 2006 MLK Employee Singers and Musicians. This group rehearses on their own time and brought their hearts, musical sensibilities and harmonies to enhance our Celebration. The 2006 MLK Singers include: Cammie Enslow, Sheriff's Office; Colleen Hinkle, Natural Resources and Parks; Deena Randolph, Transportation; John Macdonald, Executive Services; Joslin Henry, Executive Services; Kimberly Dunn, Judicial Administration; Kimberly Tyler, Sheriff's Office; Lamar Reed, Development and Environmental Services; Linda Woodward, Sheriff's Office; Macara Underwood, Sheriff's Office; and Maurice Alexander, Executive Services. The group is directed by Maria Batayola, Executive Services.
The celebration included the annual presentation of the Humanitarian Award and recognition of the best eighth grade essay about Dr. King and the event theme. (see information below).
The celebration began with an excerpt from Dr. King's speech: Where Do We Go From Here? For the entire text of the speech "Where Do We Go From Here?" by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., August 16, 1967 see www.africanamericans.com/MLKjrWhereDoWeGoFromHere.htm.
This is the seventh year that the King County Civil Rights Commission has sponsored an MLK essay contest open to all eighth grade students of the county. The contest provides an opportunity for these middle school students to deepen their knowledge of Dr. King's life and work, and to reflect on the meaning of his legacy in their own time as they address the annual theme of this celebration. This year, we asked students to consider the theme of "United for the Common Good" as they developed their essays.
First Place: Lena Cardoso of Seattle, from the Lake Washington Girls Middle School, received the $100 prize.
Second Place: Maya Riser-Kositsky from Lake Washington Girls Middle School, received the $75 prize.
Third Place: Karly Birch from Redmond Junior High, received the $50 prize.
The members of the Civil Rights Commission are proud of the work of these students and thank them for their inspiring entries.
More on student essay awards:
Council Chair Larry Phillips and Councilmember Larry Gossett presented the 2006 King County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Humanitarian Award to:
As a college student at Highline Community College, Ebony Romano served as the Ethnic Programs Coordinator and created a program that confronted the issues of racism and prejudice in the classroom among students and faculty. In January, 1996, Highline Community College chose to honor Ebony's work by giving her their Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarianism Award.
Ebony's volunteer commitments have included serving food at the Union Gospel Mission's Men's Shelter, serving as a Netmaster for the King County Library System teaching an internet class to senior citizens, immigrants, and people of color who may never have owned a computer, building a home with Habitat for Humanity while at Seattle University, assisting with Prison Legal News, and the Mitchell Family Food Drive.
For four years, she has personally collected warm clothing and blankets to pass out to homeless individuals on Seattle city streets. The nomination applauded her inspiration to others whom she has recruited to join in her efforts.
But that's not all. Ebony's commitment to helping others is also demonstrated on the job. She was a team captain for the 2006 Heart Walk. In October 2005, Ebony led a team that worked with South Seattle Community College to put into place classes to prepare individuals for employment and continuation of their education. Thus far, six individuals have been successfully placed in jobs and two have received $1500.00 college scholarships.
Thank you to Ms. Romano for her contributions to our community.
We would like to recognize the other nominees for the awards this year. They included the following King County employees:
For more information:
If you have questions about the 2005 MLK Celebration or if you need this information in large print, Braille, or audio cassette, please contact Bailey deIongh by phone at 206-296-7652, by TTY at 206-296-7596 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Dozens of events and programs are scheduled to commemorate the life and legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/255403_mlklbox12.html (external link)