(This article was previously published in the South Seattle Emerald and has been reprinted with permission.)

Despite the omicron variant surge, hundreds of people, including lots of families and children, came out for the 40th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Rally and March on Jan. 17 at Garfield High School. This year’s theme was Truth in Education NOW. Many of the issues King was dealing with in his lifetime are still present today, including voting rights, workers’ rights, and income inequality, and those issues were touched on by several of the speakers and by the signs carried in the march.

The rally at Garfield included a variety of spoken word and vocal performances, including singers Alana Edwards, the duo of Alex and Alex, and Samara Jeffery who sang “A Change is Gonna Come.” Spoken word artist Saiyana Suzumura also performed.

Speakers included Isiah Anderson and Keisha Credit who both talked about equity in education.

After the rally, the crowd headed to Seattle City Hall, stopping at the Judge Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center and the QFC on Broadway for brief rallies aiming to bring attention to juvenile justice and workers’ rights. At City Hall, another small rally took place featuring speeches by LaNesha DeBardelaben, president and CEO of the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM), and Anthony Washington, curriculum manager at the Academy for Creating Excellence (ACE), as well as spoken word performances by Will Rideout and Masai and a song performed by Isaiah Banks.

The event was planned by the Seattle Martin Luther King Jr. Organizing Coalition, an all-volunteer organization. If you are interested in helping organize next year’s event, visit the coalition’s website.

Georgia McQueen, 18 months, her brother Liam, 5, and their mom, Kristi, arrive at Garfield High School for the 40th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Rally and March. Photo by Susan Fried
Despite COVID-19, hundreds of masked people showed up on Jan. 17, 2022, at Garfield High School for the 40th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Rally and March. Photo by Susan Fried
Luna Harris, 5, and her dad, Jake, joined hundreds of people Jan. 17, 2022, for the 40th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Rally and March at Garfield High School. Photo by Susan Fried
Pastor Terrence Proctor says a few words about his friend Willie Austin who was honored by the Seattle MLK Jr. Organizing Coalition for his work with young people. Although Austin passed away in 2013, the Austin Foundation continues to provide free fitness and nutrition education to young people in Seattle and King County. Photo by Susan Fried
Samara Reign sings “A Change is Gonna Come,” Jan. 17, 2022, during the 40th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Rally at Garfield High School. Photo by Susan Fried
Hundreds of people participated in the 40th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Rally and March on Jan. 17, 2022. The marchers made their way from Garfield High School to City Hall, stopping in front of the Judge Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center and the QFC on Broadway to bring attention to juvenile justice and workers’ rights, emphasizing “jobs not jails.” Photo by Susan Fried
Alexis Mburu, a Martin Luther King Jr. Coalition youth intern, leads the crowd in a chant outside the Judge Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center during the 40th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day March from Garfield High School to City Hall on Jan. 17, 2022. Photo by Susan Fried
Fai Mathews (center) has marched in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day March from Garfield High School for decades, and despite another year marred by COVID-19, she and a friend made it to this year’s event. Photo by Susan Fried
Seattle MLK Jr. Organizing Coalition Chair Shaude’ Moore holds a friend’s baby at the end of the 40th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day March from Garfield. This year’s march ended at Seattle City Hall. Photo by Susan Fried
Spoken word artist Will Rideout performs outside Seattle City Hall, the end of the 40th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day March. Photo by Susan Fried
Despite another year of COVID-19 altering the annual MLK Jr. event at Garfield, hundreds of people showed up on Jan. 17, 2022, to honor the life of King and show support for the causes that he fought for during his lifetime and that continue to be issues over 50 years later. Photo by Susan Fried
Anthony Washington, curriculum manager at the Academy for Creating Excellence (ACE), speaks about inequities in education at Seattle City Hall, the end of the 40th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day March. Photo by Susan Fried
Hundreds of people gathered outside Garfield High School for the 40th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Rally and March. This year’s theme was Truth in Education NOW, a response to the attack on the teaching of America’s history of racial discrimination by labeling it as “critical race theory.” Photo by Susan Fried
Highly successful business woman and Garfield High School graduate Keisha Credit spoke about inequities in education during the 40th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Rally on Jan. 17, 2022. Photo by Susan Fried
Hundreds of marchers hit the street to honor the late civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the 40th Annual MLK Jr. Day March from Garfield High School on Jan. 17, 2022. Photo by Susan Fried
Isiah Anderson talks about engaging youth in the arts, in particular theater, during the 40th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Rally at Garfield High School on Jan. 17, 2022. Photo by Susan Fried
Hundreds of people participated in the 40th Annual MLK Jr. Day Rally and March on Jan. 17, 2022. The marchers made their way from Garfield High School to City Hall, stopping in front of the Judge Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center and the QFC on Broadway to bring attention to juvenile justice and workers’ rights, emphasizing “jobs not jails.” Photo by Susan Fried
Alexis Mburu, a Martin Luther King Jr. Coalition youth intern, leads the crowd in a chant during the 40th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day March from Garfield High School to City Hall on Jan. 17, 2022. Photo by Susan Fried
Bobby Alexander, vice chair of the Seattle Martin Luther King Jr. Organizing Coalition, introduces a speaker at Seattle City Hall, the end of this year’s march from Garfield High School. Hundreds of people masked up and participated in this year’s MLK Jr. events. Photo by Susan Fried

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