26th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration

Legacy of Hope

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – at the age of 35 – was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his nonviolent, lifelong campaign for civil rights and social justice.

From Dr. King’s work to eliminate segregation from American public schools and other public facilities, to his efforts to elevate civil rights and social justice as government priorities, his legacy is a legacy of hope. The City of Tacoma’s signature event – the 26th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration – seeks to build on that hope and base this year’s theme around Youth Continuing the Legacy.

The event will take place on Monday, January 20, 2014, at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center (1500 Broadway in Tacoma, WA). It is expected to draw roughly 2,000 - 3,000 adults and children. Doors will open at 10 a.m. and the event will start at 11 a.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring donations of non-perishable food items for the MLK Food Drive benefitting the Allen AME Church.

At this event, Human Rights Champion Award recipients Mark Martinez, Tom McCarthy, Laurie Davenport and Stella Haioulani will be recognized for their public service. 

Eric Boles will be this year's keynote speaker. Boles - a Tacoma resident and former National Football League player with the New York Jets and Green Bay Packers - is president of The Gamechangers, Inc. a training and consulting company whose leadership, team and personal development processes are used by a number of globally recognized companies.

The South Sound MLK Mass Choir will feature a youth component this year and perform under the direction of Deputy Mayor Victoria Woodards. There will also be performances by Bob Williams of Living Voices, who will take event attendees through the experiences of a student activist from Mississippi joining the struggle for civil rights; Poet Laureate Lucas Smiraldo; Pacific Lutheran University’s step team, Lute Nation; and Lincoln High School's drumline.  

In addition to free holiday on-street parking and free parking at Freighthouse Square (2501 E. D St.), which is easily accessible via LINK light rail from the Convention Center stop located directly in front of the event venue, there will also be signage and personnel directing event attendees to designated complimentary parking stalls that will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis at the following locations:

  • Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center (1500 Broadway) 
  • Pacific Plaza Garage (1125 Commerce St.)  
  • Park Plaza North (923 Commerce St.)

City Events and Recognition Committee

The Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration program is spearheaded by a City Council appointed City Events and Recognition Committee comprised of local community leaders from a broad array of backgrounds and areas of expertise.

The City Events and Recognition Committee serves as an advisory and action committee on matters pertaining to City-hosted events and special recognition programs. Members are responsible for planning, reviewing and evaluating events, engaging the community in its fundraising efforts, and soliciting corporate and private sponsorships to leverage funds for City-hosted events such as the Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration.

The Celebration Will Be Televised

The Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration is also covered and aired on TV Tacoma, which is carried on both the Click! and Comcast Cable systems.

On Click!, TV Tacoma can be seen on Channel 12 within Tacoma City limits and in Pierce County, with the exception of University Place, where TV Tacoma can be found on Channel 21.

On Comcast, TV Tacoma can be seen on Channel 12 within Tacoma City limits and on Channel 21 in Pierce County.

TV Tacoma is not carried on the Comcast system in University Place, but is accessible anywhere on the Internet.

Audition to Perform at the Celebration

Submit an Application to Perform at the 26th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration by 11:59 PM on Wednesday, December 4, 2013.

Nominations for the Service Award

Submit a Nomination for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award by 11:59 PM on Monday, December 2, 2013.
Time and Location

January 20, 2014
11 AM until 1 PM

Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center
1500 Broadway
Tacoma, WA 98402

Map and Directions

Contact Information
Christina Watts
MLK@cityoftacoma.org
(253) 594-7925