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It Started with a Dream... Many Views, One Vision

20th Anniversary King County
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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King County marked its 20th anniversary celebration honoring its namesake, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Thurs. Jan. 11, 2007 at the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall. The theme was: It Started with a Dream...Many Views, One Vision.

M L K DancerAt the invitation of the County Executive, King County Council Chair Larry Gossett make the opening comments and spoke of changes in our lifetimes: "When Dr. King led the effort to pass the Voting Rights bill in 1965, there were only 156 Black elected officials in the country. ...There are a little over ten thousand Black elected officials in 2007. Ron's father and my father, no matter how talented or brilliant they would have been, because of the nature of racism, would not have had the opportunity to be elected officials in the very rural and European American communities where they grew up."

King County Executive Sims continued the program by looking back over the history of 20 years of celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. King.

"Today we celebrate the 78th birthday of King County's namesake, the late civil rights leader Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., winner of the Nobel Peace Prize," said Executive Sims. "As we watch this program today let us be inspired by the deeds of ordinary people who ended up doing extraordinary things. May his spirit inspire you as you return to do the great work that you do for the residents of King County."

Other elected officials including Prosecuting Attorney Norm Maleng, Sheriff Sue Rahr, Superior Court Judges Michael Trickey and Christopher Washington and District Court Judge Barb Linde attended the event.

The celebration's performances began with an excerpt from Dr. King's speech: "I have a Dream." For the entire text of the speech "I Have a Dream" by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. given August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial see:

The county's anniversary celebration also featured excerpts from the program "Deep Rivers: The Civil Rights Era in Poetry and Song," a performance combining Negro spirituals, freedom songs and poetry. This special presentation was directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton and featured performers Vania C. Bynum, Cathy Sims, Stephen Newby, Timeca Briggs, Shanga Parker and Carlene Brown.

The 2007 MLK King County Employee Singers performed at this exciting event. They included John Macdonald, Department of Executive Services; Danene Salomon-Sepulveda, Department of Judicial Administration; Kimberly Sopher-Dunn, Department of Judicial Administration; Colleen Y. Hinkle, Department of Natural Resources and Parks and Kim Tyler, King County Sheriff's Department. The group is directed by Doy Payne, Department of Judicial Administration.

The celebration also included the annual presentation of the Humanitarian Awards and recognition of the best eighth grade essay about Dr. King and the event theme.

2007 Student Essay Contest Winners

M L K Awards GroupsThis is the eighth year that the King County Civil Rights Commission has sponsored an MLK essay contest open to all eighth grade students of the county. The contest provides an opportunity for these middle school students to deepen their knowledge of Dr. King's life and work, and to reflect on the meaning of his legacy in their own time as they address the annual theme of this celebration. This year, students were asked to address the theme of "It Started with a Dream...Many Views, One Vision."

This years' first prize winner was Caroline Sargent of The Bush School. She received the $100 prize.

Second place winner, Karen Hendrickson also from Sylvester Middle School received the $75 prize.

Third place winner, Olivia Pham of Sylvester Middle School received the $50 prize.

The members of the Civil Rights Commission are proud of the work of these students and thank them for their inspiring entries.

2007 Individual Humanitarian Award Winner

M L C Celebration SpeakerKing County Prosecuting Attorney Norm Maleng presented the 2007 King County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award to Charles Kraus of the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office

The nomination materials included the following information:

While we in our office think the world of Charles and enjoy his good nature and sense of humor, Charles is even more highly regarded for his ongoing substantive work with children as Charles the Clown and Charles the Magician.

Charles has entertained children of all socio-economic levels, of many cultural backgrounds and all over the world for over thirty years. His calling to entertain children has taken him to orphanages in Vietnam, to the gang-ridden neighborhoods in Los Angeles, and to thousands of schools, hospitals, family festivals, libraries, recreation centers, and private parties. Charles has a unique ability to bring smiles to children facing the most difficult of health and living situations. He has been particularly successful with groups of immigrant children, new to the United States and not yet fluent in the English language.

Charles Kraus is deserving of the Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award for using his knowledge and talent and devoting his life to bring moments of joy, laughter and learning to so many children. Charles lives to make people genuinely happy in our increasingly complex and difficult world and he succeeds in bringing smiles and laughter to children facing difficult situations in life that we often cannot even fathom. Charles is extraordinary and extraordinarily humble. Although Charles is about smiling and laughter, tears form as I think of the wonderful work he does in sharing himself with children in often dire circumstances.

We thank him with the 2007 King County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award!

2007 Group Humanitarian Award Winner

M L K GroupKing County Executive Ron Sims and King County Council Chair Larry Gossett presented the 2007 King County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Group Humanitarian Award to The King County Office of Management and Budget

The nomination materials gave the following information about OMB:

For the past five years, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has sponsored a family in need, providing them with toys and bikes for the children, bedding, Christmas tree and ornaments, kitchen supplies, gift certificate for groceries, and clothing for each family member.

In 2006, this work group went above and beyond their regular charity campaign and sponsored two well run non-profits; the Salvation Army Giving Tree 2006 and the King County YWCA Angeline Shelter for homeless women. In February 2006, along with the civil division of the PAO, they provided Valentine packets of underwear, blankets, and sheets, along with soaps, shampoo, and lotion to the Angeline Shelter.

According to the West Seattle Salvation Army Director, King County's OMB is one of the most generous groups they have ever worked with during the holiday season. Their 2006 effort with the Salvation Army translates into holiday gifts for 50 needy children.

In addition, OMB provided, and made up, over 400 personal hygiene kits for the Angeline Shelter that serves the homeless women population in Seattle. And the shelter desperately needs personal hygiene items. Blessed with outstanding fiscal skills, OMB was able to get the supplies for the kits at cost. Each kit contains 2 antibacterial soaps, a toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, shampoo, a comb, and deodorant.

This work group takes action. By working in partnership with these non-profits and donating their personal money and their time to provide essential necessities for impoverished families and homeless women, they make King County a bit kinder and gentler place for all of us to live.

Thank you and congratulations to OMB.

For more information:

If you have questions or feedback about the 2007 Celebration or if you need this information in large print, Braille, or audio cassette, please contact Bailey deIongh by phone at 206-296-7652, by TTY at 206-296-7596 or by e-mail at

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