The Student Newspaper of Highline College

Matika Wilbur

Annual MLK Week to explore democracy

Jonah Mizrahi Staff Reporter Jan 14, 2021

Highline’s annual MLK Week is kicking off virtually this Tuesday, Jan. 19, this year with the theme “Democracy for Whom?”

This will be the first time the yearly event is held online rather than in person on campus.

Dr. Yasir Qadhi

But the Center for Cultural and Inclusive Excellence (CCIE) is carrying on their tradition of hosting several public discussions to celebrate the teachings of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., despite the challenges presented by the pandemic.

This year’s programming will center on discussion of Dr. King’s “three evils” of society, enumerated by the legendary civil rights leader in a 1967 address to Atlanta’s The Hungry Club Forum, a meeting place for discussion between local Black and white leaders.

Dr. King’s societal evils in the year 1967 were: the evil of racism, the evil of poverty, and the evil of war.

MLK Week 2021’s “Democracy for Whom?” discussions will examine these evils’ continued impact on the country and local community today.

Virtual presentations and events will be held each day of the upcoming week following Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18.

The week will begin Tuesday with a keynote address by speaker Matika Wilbur, founder of Native American photography initiative Project 562. Wilbur will be presenting a collection of photos and their accompanying stories from the project she began more than eight years ago.

State Rep. Jesse Johnson

Her presentation, titled “Change the Way We See Native America,” will be held via Zoom at noon on Tuesday.

Following Wilbur at 3 p.m. the same day will be an open discussion with Highline’s Executive Cabinet on Dr. King’s teachings and their pertinence to the college and community.

Titled “Dr. King’s radical vision and it’s realities yesterday and today,” the discussion will consider ongoing endeavors to “focus on closing equity gaps and increasing the success of all students,” as per the CCIE’s MLK Week webpage.

On Wednesday, author, religious scholar, and Dean of Academic Affairs at Al-Maghrib Institute Dr. Yasir Qadhi will give a presentation titled “The Impact of Wars on a Global Scale.”

Dr. Qadhi’s presentation will delve into Dr. King’s three evils from a Muslim perspective, focusing on common stereotypes and Islamophobic attitudes directed at the Muslim community. It will begin on Zoom at noon.

Epiphany Nick Johnson

Thursday’s session will host “Racial Equity: Moving From Commitment to Action,” an examination of the role racism plays in American institutions such as the political and healthcare systems.

The discussion will be presented at noon Jan. 21 by State Rep. Jesse Johnson, D-Federal Way, and his wife Epiphany Nick Johnson, a University of Washington School of Medicine student.

Johnson, a Federal Way resident, serves as a member of the Community and Economic Development Committee, and as the vice chair of the Public Safety Committee in the Washington state House of Representatives.

After the Johnsons, attorney and City of Tukwila Councilmember Cynthia Delostrinos Johnson will give her presentation “The First, But Not the Last — A Call for New Leaders.”

Delostrinos will speak on issues of racism, inequality, and injustice, advocating for new leadership to be instituted throughout society in order for equality to be achieved. Her talk will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday.

On Friday, 2021’s MLK Week will conclude with a presentation by attorney, advocate, and speaker Lydia X. Z. Brown titled “Against Ableism and White Supremacy: Disability Justice is our Liberation,” beginning at 10 a.m.

Lydia X. Z. Brown

Brown’s work in advocacy and organization has spanned many years, including during their time as an undergraduate at Georgetown University, where they are now an Adjunct Lecturer in Disability Studies.

Zoom links to each event as well as the full week’s programming schedule can be accessed from the Center for Cultural and Inclusive Excellence’s webpage.