MLK Day Celebration

The Greater Everett Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Celebration is a faith-based, multi-ethnic celebration commemorating the birthday and the legacy of a great American leader who happened to be a Black American. The following is the timeline of its inception and progress to date: 1983 Pastor Matthew McSwain, Pastor of Second Baptist Church in Everett WA., was asked by Governor Booth Gardner to organize a celebration to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the Everett area. ​​ 1984 Pastor McSwain organized a meeting between the Black Clergy. This meeting was held at Bailey AME and was attended by Pastors Matthew McSwain, Jerry Ramsey, and Spencer Barrett. It was agreed that the next celebration would be held at Second Baptist Church, and rotate between the African American churches, inviting other churches to attend and participate in celebrating the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ​​ 1984 The first celebration was held at the First Baptist Church in Everett. ​ 1985 -1994 During this period, the planning committee made intentional efforts to reach out to community organizations, public officials and, other ethnic groups and non-Christian faith-based organizations. Speakers were identified and invited to participate who were not clergy, but held to and practiced similar guiding principles of those of Rev. King. ​​ 1995-1997 By this time, the celebration had out-grown the seating capacity at the area Black American churches. With on-going requests from other ethnic groups and community organizations asking to be more directly involved in the planning of the program, the committee agreed to find a larger venue location for the celebration. In 1995, the celebration was held at Everett Community College. The program speaker was Rev. Dr. Samuel McKinney, who was the room mate of Rev. King when they attended Morehouse, as well as a key Civil Rights leader in the Seattle area. In addition, the program was expanded to include program contributions from the Native American, Asian-Pacific Islanders, and Mexican American communities. The choir, while yet showcasing songs from the Civil Rights era, began to include more contemporary gospel songs. Anyone interested in learning traditional gospel music and wanted to gain from the experience of being part of a multi-cultural choir, were encouraged to join. And many did just that.… ​​ 1998-2016 In 1998, the celebration moved to the United Methodist church (the now closed Spirit of Grace church). The committee agreed that each year the keynote speakers would rotate between a male and female, and the youth would have a more prominent role on the program. In addition, better coordination between other organizations such as the Communities of Color Coalition, Minority Achievers Program, and the NAACP, with the primary sponsor becoming the Snohomish County Black Heritage Committee. ​​ 2016- 2017 When the Spirit of Grace closed their doors, the celebration moved to the Everett Community College campus. ​​ 2018 The celebration, in its 35th year, is being hosted by Pastor Agustin Palealto and Iglesia Betania Church family and continues to promote the ideals and vision of the Rev. Dr. King through presentations, youth involvement and connecting through musical expressions. ​​ 2019 Held at the Bethany Christian Assembly, keynote speaker Larry Gossett, King County Councilmember. Proclamation from City of Everett and Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. 2020 Held at First Presbyterian Church of Everett, keynote speaker Leilani Miller from Millenia Ministries. County Executive Dave Somers presented Proclamation as well as Mayor of Everett, Cassie Franklin. ​​ 2021 First Virtual Celebration. & First ever 2-Day Event -Sunday, January 17, 2021 and Monday, Monday January 18, 2021 Millcreek Foursquare Church (Sunday). Keynote Speaker: Mr. Mr. Nathaniel Miles, Vice President for Strategic Initiative & State Government Affairs, Eli Lilly and Company. First Presbyterian Church (Monday) Keynote Speaker: Mr. JJ Frank, Executive Director Marysville YMCA
Snohomish County Black Heritage Committee
PO Box 1552, Everett, WA 98206
(425) 583-7739