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King County will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's legacy on Thursday January 14, 2021 12:00pm-1pm. In keeping with Public Health guidance and safety, this year's event will be held virtually.

The theme and accompanying quote for our 2021 Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration are: Creating the Beloved Community, and

"A democracy cannot thrive where power remains unchecked and justice is reserved for a select few. Ignoring these cries and failing to respond to this movement is simply not an option — for peace cannot exist where justice is not served." - US Congressman John Lewis

The 2021 Celebration keynote will be delivered by Dr. Ben Danielson, an advocate for the health and well-being of children and families with low incomes. He is a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington. For 20 years, he served as the medical director of Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, based out of Seattle’s Central District, a historically Black neighborhood.

Event viewing details and information:

The 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration will be broadcast on King County TV. King County employees and community members can watch the celebration on January 14th by tuning to KCTV Channels 22 and 322 (HD) at 12pm.

The event will also be streamed on this webpage.

King County Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

Day: Thursday, January 14, 2021

Time: 12:00pm

Live streaming links:

Virtual Event Program (Click to watch a pre-recorded program)

1. Event Opening by co-hosts: Vazaskia Crockrell, Equity and Social Justice Director - Metropolitan King County Council & Anita Whitfield, Chief Equity & Inclusion Officer – King County Executive’s Office

2. Land Acknowledgement: Christian Bishop, King County Native American Leadership Council

3. Lift Every Voice and Sing, widely acknowledged as the Black national anthem, Kirk Franklin and choir

4. Pouring of Libations: Cecelia Hayes, Equity, Social Justice & Inclusion Manager – Department of Executive Services

5. Welcome Community and Employees: Jabari Hampton, King County Black/African Affinity Group Representative

6. Spoken Word Performance: Anastacia-Reneé, writer and poet

7. Executive Dow Constantine Provides Remarks

8. King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci Provides Remarks

9. 2021 Larry Gossett Service Award Recipient is Announced: Remarks by Gerald W. Donaldson, Family Support Worker for Leschi Elementary School (Seattle Public Schools)

10. Introduction of Keynote Speaker: Vazaskia Crockrell

11. Keynote Speech: Dr. Ben Danielson, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at UW and Former Director of the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic

12. Final Words and Thanks: Anita Whitfield and Vazaskia Crockrell

13. Closing Music

A message from Senator Maria Cantwell in honor of the 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration:

Speaker & Artist Bios:

Dr. Benjamin Danielson, Keynote Speaker

Dr. Benjamin Danielson is an advocate for the health and well-being of children and families with low incomes. He is a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington. For 20 years, he served as the medical director of Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, based out of Seattle’s Central District, a historically Black neighborhood.

Dr. Danielson also helped found the Washington Medical-Legal Partnership, which trains doctors to recognize when forces outside the examination room contribute to health problems. Dr. Danielson serves on the Children’s Alliance Public Policy Council, Equal Start Community Coalition, and the Health Coalition for Children and Youth. He is also a board member for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange and the United Way of King County. He earned a BA in biology from Harvard University and an MD from the University of Washington.

Gerald W. Donaldson, 2021 Larry Gossett Service Award Recipient

Mr. Donaldson has worked in the Seattle School District for 30 years as a Family Support Worker, to ensure that families’ basic human needs are met. He is an ever-present community fixture and his contributions include co-founding The Rising Sons boys’ group and co-founding of the Rising Daughters girls’ group, as well as the Racial Student Equity Team at Leschi Elementary. During the pandemic, he has supported weekly “grab and go” food distribution to support families, as well as technical support, and numerous school needs. He was recognized as Family Support Worker of the Year, and the 2019 MOHAI Educator of the Year.

Mr. Donaldson has worked with the Leschi Community, the PTA, and service agencies such as Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, numerous Churches, local community centers, and merchants. He has built partnerships with these community resources for holiday assistance, clothing, rental and energy assistance, and food donations for essential family support in a community with a large minority and immigrant population with numerous needs. He is grateful for such rewarding, fulfilling, and challenging work.

Anastacia-Renee, award-winning cross-genre writer, educator, interdisciplinary artist, TEDX speaker and podcaster.

Renee is the author of (v.), (Black Ocean Press), Forget It (Black Radish Press) and Answer(Me), (Winged City Chapbook Press). She has received fellowships and residencies from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, VONA, Artist Trust, Jack Straw, Ragdale, Mineral School, Hypatia in the Woods and The New Orleans Writers Residency. Anastacia-Renee's work has been anthologized in, Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry, Spirited Stone, Lessons from Kubotas Garden, Seismic, Seattle City of Literature, and her poetry, fiction and non-fiction has been in Foglifter, Cascadia Magazine, Pinwheel, The Fight and the Fiddle, Glow, The A-Line, Ms. Magazine, Spark, Obsidian Literature and Arts in the African Diaspora, Crab Creek Review, Alta, Catapult and many more. To view the full video of her spoken word piece and to learn more about the artist and her work, please visit:

Download backgrounds for your Teams or Zoom meetings, your computer desktop, or your phone background and lock screen. Right-click a link to save the files on a desktop, or tap and hold to save on a mobile device.

This year essential King County employees that continue to report to their regularly assigned work space can request a 2021 MLK Jr. calendar. Calendars will be delivered via interoffice mail this year. Please use the link below to place a calendar order.

Notes: Limit 1 per employee. Not available for employees that are working from home. In addition, we have been informed that there is typo in the month of April on the current print calendar. Changes have been made for any future print orders.

Order online here.

For more information, please email

Thumbnail image of the 2021 calendar

The Larry Gossett 2021 Service Award recognizes and affirms an individual or organization who have made significant contributions in the areas of racial equity, social justice, and/or human rights, the award is presented annually at the King County, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration and selected by King County Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Planning Committee (PC) and the King County African American Affinity Group (AG).