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caption: A woman walks past a large mural of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the side of a diner, painted by artist James Crespinel in the 1990's and later restored, along Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tuesday, April 3, 2018, in Seattle.
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A woman walks past a large mural of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the side of a diner, painted by artist James Crespinel in the 1990's and later restored, along Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tuesday, April 3, 2018, in Seattle.
Credit: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

40 years since Seattle recognized its first MLK Day

  • The big annual march through Seattle starts at 12:30 p.m. at Garfield High School. Find more information about the MLK Day schedule here.
  • The Northwest African American Museum is opening Monday for the first time since it closed during the pandemic.

It's been 40 years since Seattle recognized its first Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This year, the city is honoring that milestone with the theme: 40 years of continuing King's mission.

"The spirit of Dr. King is the spirit of love and tolerance, and at a time where maybe people haven't been this intolerant in a long time, it's good to remember that we're all just people," said Bobby Alexander, vice chair of the Seattle MLK Coalition.

RELATED: Martin Luther King workshopped his 'I have a dream' speech in Seattle

"When we have a polarizing political environment people are reminded of politics more often, and they're reminded of the issues more often, and not even speaking on extreme ideologies but just the idea that where people disagree now they are less likely to share community."

A range of community events will take place on MLK Day (Monday, Jan. 16, 2023), such as workshops on early childhood and civil rights. Youth will give a presentation on racism in school.

"We have a job fair in the morning with our workshops," Alexander said. "Our workshops are always an opportunity to become educated, and our program actually starts at 11 a.m. at Garfield High School. So come out to our event, attend the workshops, go to the march and rally where you'll be entertained and educated."

RELATED: 'They've Killed Martin.' Remembering The Day MLK Was Assassinated

"You can talk about economic stratification, gentrification, and we can throw vocabulary words all around, but basically it's more expensive to live now than it has been in a long time," Alexander said. "So what are the reasons you would come out this year? It would be those things, but also a desire to join folks out in community in the spirit of Dr. King."

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