Islander Awarded MLK Medal of Distinguished Service

Alejandra Tres is a co-founder and co-leader of Comunidad Latina de Vashon.

Last week, King County Council Vice Chair Joe McDermott awarded Alejandra Tres with the Martin Luther King Medal of Distinguished Service.

This prestigious award recognizes individuals whose work has answered the question asked by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “What are you doing for others?”

Tres has resided on Vashon for the past 16 years, participating and contributing to the island in many ways.

Most notably, she is a co-founder and co-leader of Comunidad Latina de Vashon, working in a framework of consensus with the organization’s other leaders to celebrate and support the vibrant and accomplished youth and families of the island’s Latinx community.

During the pandemic, Comunidad organized vaccination education, creating bilingual infographics with the Union of Concerned Scientists, which are now being used nationwide. In response to the impacts of COVID-19, the group also did outreach for local rent assistance efforts and created its own programs for economic assistance.

Comunidad’s youth-led programs include a lively Mercado for islanders, get-out-the-vote efforts, and peer-to-peer tutoring and support services.

For years, with efforts increasing during the pandemic, Comunidad has also advocated for the improvement of equity practices within Vashon public schools.

“Alejandra is a champion for people of Vashon Island and King County as a whole,” said Councilmember McDermott, citing Tres’ work during the pandemic with Comunidad and the Unincorporated BIPOC Economic Alliance. “I am inspired by Alejandra’s creativity and tireless advocacy to make the world better for all of us.”

“I am overcome with gratitude for this opportunity to highlight the hundreds of leaders I work alongside who make this work on Vashon and throughout unincorporated King County possible and fun,” Tres said. “I need to especially celebrate the youth leaders who continuously awe me with their ideas and energy on how to make the world more like it should be.”​​

Tres also co-led efforts to secure $5 million in COVID relief dollars to support the economic recovery of BIPOC communities during COVID-19. Formerly, she was the executive director of the Municipal League of King County where she co-created, with the aim of making voting more accessible.

This is the sixth year that King County Councilmembers have recognized a resident of each council district with this award.