Daemond Arrindell (top left), Malea Dickerson, a student member of Just Speak (bottom left) and Trish Dziko (right) (Courtesy Photo).

Daemond Arrindell (top left), Malea Dickerson, a student member of Just Speak (bottom left) and Trish Dziko (right) (Courtesy Photo).

Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. event to call for action

Presenters will include keynote speaker Trish Dziko, Karen Dhaliwal of the Freedom Project.

Vashon Center for the Arts will host a celebration of the work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20.

Presenters will include keynote speaker and islander Trish Dziko, the co-founder and executive director of the Technology Access Foundation, an organization that provides a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum for underserved students in the public school system. Karen Dhaliwal, the director of development at the Freedom Project, an organization that helps provide basic needs for formerly incarcerated people while promoting educational and apprenticeship opportunities, will also speak.

Performances will include local singer Alexandrea Davis and musician and Vashon High School graduate Wes Brenner with Torin Frost, a fellow member in the band Runes of Neptune, according to a press release. Students from Just Speak, a student spoken word group who uses the medium to examine identity and social justice, will also appear. Poet, performer and teaching artist Daemond Arrindell, who facilitates the group, will emcee the event.

Wendy Finkleman, VCA’s director of arts education, was one of a core group of eight volunteers who helped to organize the program this year honoring Dr. King. She said she was looking forward to the same vibrant energy as last year’s event had, calling it a celebratory coming together that again will feature inspired presenters. Finkleman noted that the theme this year for the program is a call to action.

“The people who are speaking, that’s our ask of them, is to speak to that,” she said, adding that she believes it is the responsibility of the island community to commit to taking an action against racism, from advocating for student expression to reading literature written by authors of color.

According to the 2010 census data for Vashon, 95.4 percent of the population of Vashon is white.

Student artwork from Chautauqua Elementary School and The Harbor School inspired by Dr. King’s work will be featured in the VCA lobby following the presentation with food, conversation and community-building from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Vashon Maury PTSA and the Vashon Island Unitarian Fellowship.

Separately from the event, students from McMurray Middle School and The Harbor School will join school staff and parents on the Harbor School Race Equity committee in a demonstration with a march beginning at the four-way stop in town and converging at the arts center at 1 p.m. Friday.

More information can be found at vashoncenterforthearts.org. Tickets to the event are $5. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m.

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