24th Annual King County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
“We are the ones we have been waiting for.”
More than 750 people packed the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle on January 13, 2011 to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to recognize “we are the ones we have been waiting for,” the theme of King County’s 24th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration.
“I feel pride when I see King County government employees hard at work every day to achieve Dr. King’s goal of a fair and just America,” said County Executive Dow Constantine. “Many of the county government employees who serve residents have completed Equity and Social Justice training to ensure they uphold Dr. King’s values and remove barriers that limit anyone’s ability to fulfill their full potential.”
“This year’s theme was derived from a poem urging participation in the effort to end Apartheid in South Africa,” said Metropolitan King County Council Chair Larry Gossett. “Those powerful words, ‘We are the ones we have been waiting for,’ recognizes our individual and collective responsibility to continue Dr. King’s work to make this one nation with equity and justice for all and calls on us to not remain silent in the battle to eliminate inequities in King County and throughout America.”
The celebration’s keynote speaker, Dr. Camara Phyllis Jones from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, used the allegory of a gardener using two flower boxes, one with rich, fertile soil and one with poor, rocky soil to discuss the insidious and harmful impacts of racism on the well-being and health of the nation. She urged the audience to work on creating deeper levels of conversation and action, both as individuals, and as members of institutions, so that every child in King County and around the nation can develop to his or her full potential.
“Let us not speak about MY children versus YOUR children, for these are all OUR children,” said Dr. Jones. “We need to cherish and support ALL of our children, for they are the only part of the future we can touch.”
2011 Celebration Calendars distributed at the event featured the painting “Recession” by Yadesa Zewge Boija. Mr. Boija is a graphic artist at the University of Washington. In 2010, the African Union chose one of his designs to represent the AU and its 53 member countries.