The city of Bellevue and Community Services remembered the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by hosting a trio of events.
To begin the celebration, an MLK event was hosted at City Hall on Jan. 17. John Carlos delivered an address to listeners and challenged them to reflect on individual and collective roles in building the “beloved community” that was envisioned by the Rev. King.
“I chose to do something [from] the day I was born and the day I died,” Carlos said. “What is important is what you [will] do during those days.”
Carlos is a track star who raised his fist for human rights at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City on Oct. 16, 1968. The U.S. sprinters Tommie Smith and Carlos stepped onto the world stage, and lowered their heads and raised their fist when “The Star-Spangled Banner” began to play. Their Black Power salute photo would become one of the most influential protest images of all time.
The celebration continued on Jan. 21 with a Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration and health fair at Crossroads Shopping Center and tree planting at Eastgate Park.
About 70 people volunteered to plant conifer trees on MLK day. Volunteers helped improve the health of parks and forests at Eastgate Park in Bellevue.
Lake Washington Watershed Internship Program interns Jillian Olson and Grace Brueles said the program presented them the planting opportunity with the EarthCorp.
“Planting trees is a great way to spend today,” Brueles said. “I think it’s really important to see what we can do to help the environment and foster relations within the planet and also in each other. Restoration allows us to help our relationship and also our relationship with nature.”
Olson added that restoration makes the planet better, and having volunteers come out is what is needed to make the planet better.
EarthCorps staff member Mariska Kecskes said they were there for two reasons.
Staff members and volunteers were there to restore the Bellevue urban forest habitat and their hope was to plant around 3,000 conifer trees.
Kecskes added it was also a time to reflect on what it really means to do service and how it relates to the legacy Dr. King laid the ground for.
“It’s [Integrating] those reflections about doing service and advocating for justice throughout the day,” Kecskes said. “It’s a two-fold.”
The Crossroads Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration and health fair included guest speakers, live entertainment and free health screenings and health-related community resources. Attendees also had the opportunity to donate blood.