Credit: Jacob Lawrence, The Builders
, Egg tempera on board, 1947
© 2013 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS) & Art Resource, New York
2014 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
"No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."
The Paramount Theatre in downtown Seattle was filled with hundreds of people to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during King County's 27th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration. The theme for this year's event was "No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."
King County Executive Dow Constantine noted, “The year 2014 also marks the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. That landmark legislation guaranteed equal opportunity in employment - along with protecting the right to vote and outlawing discrimination in public facilities and public education. This anniversary allows us to look back to see the progress that has been made."
Council Chair Larry Phillips introduced the keynote speaker, fellow King County Councilmember Larry Gossett, expressing his deep appreciation and admiration for his colleague, saying "for two decades, Councilmember Gossett has been a voice for the disadvantaged and underrepresented on the King County Council. He has shined a light on inequities within our communities and worked to break down barriers and improve access for minorities, immigrants, and people who are economically disadvantaged. We are fortunate to have a public servant in our region who has lived according to the spirit of Dr. King."
In his moving and inspirational keynote speech, Councilmember Gossett said, "Martin Luther King Jr. is pointing out that we too frequently in our society overlook or fail to recognize the significance of non-professional jobs, or those jobs that are not 'big time' positions. We do not give importance to the work of janitors, sanitation workers, hospital orderlies, or butlers."
Along with paying tribute to Dr. King, King County also honored the winners of the annual Martin Luther King Essay Contest, sponsored by the King County Civil Rights Commission. Eighth graders throughout King County were asked to reflect on the celebration's theme. The winners were:
The winning essays are available on the Commission's website.
- Two First prize winners, Rae Hirshfeld-Smith and Mengmeng Gibbs, both from Lake Washington Girls Middle School
- Second prize winner, Lucy Mujugira of Saint Therese Catholic Academy.
Attendees at the annual celebration also enjoyed musical performances the MLK Employee Singers, and spoken word by Christa Bell. Photos from the event can be seen on the King County Flickr stream.
Please be sure to mark your calendar for next year's 28th annual celebration, Thursday, January 15, 2015.