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Community honors Martin Luther King's enduring legacy

Singers from the Voice of Praise gospel choir performed Jan. 21 at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at Decatur High School in Federal Way. - Margo Horner/The Mirror
Singers from the Voice of Praise gospel choir performed Jan. 21 at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at Decatur High School in Federal Way.
— image credit: Margo Horner/The Mirror

By MARGO HORNER, The Mirror

Hundreds of Federal Way community members honored Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday at the city’s annual celebration.

People of all colors crowded into the performing arts center at Decatur High School to celebrate the revolutionary African American leader.

Valerie Martin, of Northeast Tacoma, said she celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day every year as one of the most significant holidays.

“We wouldn’t be where we are today without his sacrifices,” Martin said.

In its 15th year, the King celebration, hosted by the City of Federal Way Diversity Commission, has expanded to include events over nearly an entire week. This year’s theme was “Triumph... in a world of possibilities.”

The celebration concluded on Monday with featured performances from the Voices of Praise gospel choir, the Thomas Jefferson High School Drum Line, guitarist Cesar Medel and poet Dinah Ladd.

Patrick Tamnkang, the keynote speaker, told the crowd about his life growing up in a small village in West Africa and his struggle to come to America.

Audience members of all ages said they enjoyed the show.

Nikki Ashe of Federal Way brought her two young children along with other family members. Teaching the message of King to her children is important, Ashe said.

“It represents everyone from different cultures coming together as one,” she said.

Also at the event, winners of the 2008 Martin Luther King Jr. student contest were announced. Students Andrea Ortega and Michael Sapa Afoa read their winning entries to the crowd. Each of 21 winners from all grade levels were awarded cash prizes ranging from $100 to $25.

Contact Margo Horner: mhorner@fedwaymirror.com.

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