Seattle's Child

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Seattle MLK Day 2021

Photo: Susan Fried / Seattle Martin Luther King Organizing Coalition

MLK Day 2021: What to read, watch and do with your kids

Ways to immerse your family in Dr. King's message of community service and nonviolent protest.

Seattle MLK Day 2021: Monday, Jan. 18, is the national holiday commemorating the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

Many of the Seattle-area events in Dr. King’s honor have either been put on hold or converted to virtual events, with one big exception.

Whether you decide to attend a march or honor Dr. King quietly in your own way, take the opportunity to explore and share his message of community, service and equality.

Young Leaders event (virtual)

Visit the RainierAvenueRadio.World Facebook page from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 17, for a streaming youth event including a short film of high school age students sharing about their activism and world views.

A week of workshops

The Seattle Area Martin Luther King Organizing Coalition will hold a week of virtual events and workshops from Tuesday through Saturday, Jan. 12-16. Topics include criminal justice, policing, reparations, disability, intersectionality and racism, anti-racist journalism and a presentation by the Washington Poor People’s Campaign about “14 Demands for Healing Washington” in the areas of racism, poverty, ecological devastation and more.

Full schedule here.

March and rally

This annual event, also sponsored by the Seattle Area Martin Luther King Organizing Coalition, will go on, with social distancing and COVID precautions.

The rally takes place at 11 a.m. Monday in the Garfield High School front parking lot. The march is set to depart at noon. Details about the event, including COVID-19 precautions, here.

Seattle MLK Day 2021: More ways to learn

The Washington State History Museum will offer various online activities for all ages from 10 a.m-4 p.m. Monday. Details here.

On-your-own observations:

The King Center is a great resource for learning about Dr. King’s life and teachings. Stanford University also has an institute with an extensive online collection, including an annotated version of the “I Have a Dream” speech. There are a lot of ideas on Pinterest, too.

Story time: This week, the Northwest African American Museum has an online reading of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech by Jason Turner.

Read: Even the youngest kids can begin to learn about Dr. King and his message, and there are lots of books to help. Here is just one list, put together by PBS. Here’s another extensive list: Books and resources to help your family explore racial identity and social justice.

King County Library System has this “community created” list of books on Dr. King.

Do something good

The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. also is one of community service and volunteering, and the holiday often features some large work parties and volunteer opportunities. Those events are on hold this year, but you can honor Dr. King by doing good as a family:

Pick up litter in your neighborhood, help a neighbor, donate to a food bank or other nonprofit.

Also: Washington State Parks have free admission on Monday, Jan. 18.

About the Author

Julie Hanson

Julie Hanson is the website editor for Seattle's Child. She is a longtime journalist, South King County resident and mom to a 13-year-old girl.