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Celebrate and honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his message of peace, justice and empowerment at events around the Puget Sound area this week. Monday, Jan. 19, is the federal holiday commemorating King’s birthday, signed into law by President Reagan in 1983 and officially observed in all 50 states.

Seattle Colleges host a “Community Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.” to celebrate his dream Friday, Jan. 16, at Seattle’s Mount Zion Baptist Church with artist and writer Barbara Earl Thomas as keynote speaker and gospel music by DaNell Daymon and Greater Works.

Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Teen Program hosts “Seattle Youth Unite for Justice! Restore the Dream!,” a youth-organized march to honor King on Saturday, Jan. 17, celebrating the contributions of local youth to creating a better city. All ages are invited to join in the event; speakers will include young people advocating peaceful ways to fight injustice, and workshops — including a dialogue with police officers — and a march to Rainier Community Center.

The largest regional MLK holiday celebration hosts workshops, a rally with speakers, poetry and music and a march Monday at Garfield High School. It’s the 33rd year for the annual event, which draws thousands to honor King and continue his call for racial equality, economic justice for all people, nonviolence and peace.

Other community events Monday include Northwest African American Museum’s Open House and the MLK Health Fair and Celebration of a Dream at Crossroads Bellevue with performances, health and community information, exhibits and speakers.

Information on Day of Service projects to honor King’s legacy is available on United Way of King County’s website,, with community volunteer opportunities on MLK Day Monday or any day that works for you.

All events are free and open the public.

Madeline McKenzie: