The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day march in Seattle took place on January 16 and began at Garfield High School to the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building (about 2 miles).

By Jesse N. Love

Seattle, Wash. – Chants and cheers echoed through the halls of Garfield High School as several communities gathered for a pre-March rally in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. A few Methodists in attendance included the Revs. Patricia Simpson, John Helmiere, Kelly Dahlman-Oeth along with the PNW Conference’s Kristina Gonzalez.

Musical performances, guest speakers, and other remembrances of MLK’s legacy helped kick-start the event. Several hundreds of people trekked through the Central District to Downtown’s Henry M. Jackson Federal Building. Immigrant rights, education, women’s rights, and social justice as a whole were channeled through King’s legacy of non-violence and peaceful protest.

“I was so glad to see such a large crowd of people willing to make the statements that ‘now’s the time’ and we must not cave to ‘being tired’ of working on racial justice,” shares Dale Hoff, lay leader of University Temple UMC. “The workshops, the rally, the march all remind us – the work of justice must go on.”

Pastor Kelly Dahlman-Oeth of Ronald UMC in Shoreline had this to share about his experience at the MLK Day march: “There are many ways to stand up for justice. My hope was lifted as I marched with the thousands who gathered in solidarity to celebrate and bear witness to the life and ministry of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As I walked, sang, chanted and danced with God’s tapestry of humanity, I was reminded of Dr. King’s words, ‘We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.’”

Here are just a few scenes from this year’s MLK event in Seattle:

Clergy, including Michael Ramos (The Church Council of Greater Seattle), Patricia Simpson (University Temple UMC), and John Helmiere (Valley & Mountain) were welcomed on stage, opening up the MLK Day pre-march rally. Photo by JNL/PNWUMC.
“We will lead this nation when it comes to the issues of race and police reform. We will not step back when it comes to equity and pay for women. We will not step back when it comes to making sure that in the Seattle public schools, all children graduate and graduate on time,” shares Seattle Mayor Ed Murray during the pre-MLK march rally. Photo by JNL/PNWUMC.













“As we stand here today to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King, it is not one day we are trying to honor…it is the values that Dr. King was fighting for. It was the belief that we are all one nation and that means we have to lift everybody up together. It means we have to raise the minimum wage, it means we have to fight against incarceration, it means we have to make sure that we are putting forward policies that encourage us to love and unite each other,” U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal. Photo by JNL/PNWUMC.
Hundreds of people gather towards the entrance of Garfield High School as they prepare to march towards downtown Seattle. Photo by JNL/PNWUMC.
The MLK Day march was an expression of remembrance, political opposition, and solidarity for justice and peace. Photo by JNL/PNWUMC.
The Rev. Kelly Dahlman-Oeth (Ronald UMC) and Kristina Gonzalez met up at the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building. Dahlman-Oeth shares, “As a Christian and a pastor, I feel compelled to respond to unprecedented increase in divisive and alarming rhetoric, hate speech and violence against my black and brown brothers and sisters. There is a growing and very reasonable fear among women, immigrants, LGBTQ+ persons, Muslims and Jews.” Photo by JNL/PNWUMC.
Kristina Gonzalez, Bill Hoskyn, Stacy Kitahata, Katie Geluso, and Diakonda Gurning participated in the MLK Day March in Seattle. Overall, this event was peaceful, diverse, and a positive representation of justice concerns in Seattle. Photo by JNL/PNWUMC.


Jesse N. Love serves as graphic designer & print manager for the PNWUMC.

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