Celebrate the legacy and continue the work of Martin Luther King, Jr.

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“Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a better person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.”

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., April 18, 1959

On January 15, a longstanding federal holiday, we honor the towering life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who catalyzed enormous social progress in a time of profound political fracture.

Dr. King was untiring activist, ardent advocate, soaring orator and visionary leader in the Civil Rights movement. The Nobel Peace Prize winner famously advanced the cause of social justice and racial equality through education, inspiration and non-violent protest.

But his is an unfinished legacy. As Dr. King wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” And injustice has outlived him. So, as much as it is a celebration of an indelible legacy, MLK Day is also a call to action, a challenge to extend and advance the work that Dr. King started, to ensure that the “arc of the moral universe… bends toward justice.”

As we approach this MLK Day, here are some events, resources and opportunities to engage, enrich and enlighten you.


MLK Day of Service – Join thousands of your neighbors in service projects supporting local non-profit organizations around King County through the United Way. Whether you assemble a team or sign up as an individual, you’ll find countless ways to support under-served communities.

MLK Jr’s Dream Unfinished – The Seattle MLK Coalition offers community dialogue, a youth event, an opportunity fair, free workshops and a rally and march on January 15.

Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) – At its grand reopening on MLK Day, enjoy free music, movies, motivational social justice, speakers and activities for the entire family.

UW Tacoma MLK Unity Breakfast – Hosted by the UW Tacoma Black Student Union, this program celebrates Dr. King’s legacy by creating a space to gather as a community, celebrate art and address the relevancy of civil action today. It also recognizes outstanding service to UW Tacoma through the Dream Awards.

MLK Day Birthday Celebration – The City of Tacoma hosts this annual program, themed “A Community Blueprint—Building Block by Block,” highlighting the present and future of Dr. King’s impacts and featuring local speakers and performers.

MLK Day Commemoration – The Washington State Historical Society partners with Tacoma Arts Live to present exhibits and performances at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma.

MLK Day Health Fair – Presented by the City of Bellevue Diversity Advantage.


Dr. King’s Visit to Seattle – The Seattle Labor History Project presents a video image with the Reverend Samuel B. McKinney, who recalls the unexpectedly controversial 1961 visit of his friend, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to Seattle.

MLK Day Streaming Video Display – From UW Bothell Library’s Social Justice Team, a virtual display highlighting videos from their collections that touch on fights for racial and social justice in the United States since the mid-20th century.

UW MLK Day Reflections – In January 2021, the UW MLK Week work group asked Black students, staff and faculty to reflect on the question: “What does MLK Day mean to you?”


UW Libraries Racial Justice Guide – A curated catalog of recommended readings, podcasts, videos and articles exploring every aspect of racial justice.

Diversity at the UW – Explore the ways the UW values and honors diverse experiences and perspectives, strives to create welcoming and respectful learning environments, and promotes access, opportunity and justice for all.

Living Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy – Perspectives on keeping Dr. King’s legacy alive from the 2022 UW Bothell speech and debate team.

Cultivating a Beloved Community Mindset to Transform Unjust Systems – In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy, UW Medicine recognizes members of the community who serve those in need in this immersive 2023 feature.

MLK Day/Civil Rights Reading List – Includes books by luminaries including James Baldwin, Denise Nicholas and Langston Hughes.

Anti-Racist Reading List – Ibram X. Kendi, author of “How To Be An Antiracist,” offers a list of further reading “for people beginning their anti-racist journey.”


If you would like to support organizations helping to realize the dream of Dr. King, consider making a one-time gift or set up payroll deduction to a UW Combined Fund Drive nonprofit organization that supports enriching the Black experience and amplifying Black voices:

University of Washington Black Opportunity Fund (charity code 1482916) – Invests in services and programs for health and academic success, including but not limited to Black student organizations, Graduate Opportunities and Minority Achievement Program GO-MAP, the Brotherhood Initiative and the Women’s Center.

Black Women’s Health Imperative (charity code 1482760) – Targets the most pressing health issues that affect Black women and girls in the U.S. through investments in evidence-based strategies, bold programs and advocacy outreach on health policies.

University of Washington Costco Diversity Scholarship (charity code 1481296) – Provides general support for the UW Diversity Scholars Program – an intensive effort by the University of Washington to increase the number of highly qualified underrepresented minority students.

UW Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity EOP Fund for Excellence (charity code 0519565) – Provides support and resources for emergency scholarship support, EOP programming, orientation, and recognition events.

Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center (charity code 0315430) – Improves the quality of life for children, youth and families through an array of culturally responsive educational and social service programs.