Celebrating the dream | Kitsap Week

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and former President Lyndon B. Johnson - National Archive
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and former President Lyndon B. Johnson
— image credit: National Archive

A vigil against nuclear weapons.

A commemoration led by one of the highest-ranking master chiefs of the Navy.

A gospel concert and community dinner.

A petition to rename a Bainbridge street Martin Luther King Jr. Way NW.

Those are some of the ways that Kitsap residents are celebrating the birthday of the late civil rights leader, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the ideals of equality and non-violence that he stood for.

King’s birthday is Jan. 15; Monday, Jan. 21 is a federal holiday in honor. Schools, post offices and government offices will be closed.

Bainbridge islanders got a head start on the commemoration Jan. 9 with “Carrying on ‘The Dream’ of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” at Bainbridge High School.

Those speaking included the Rev. Dr. Samuel Berry McKinney, a former classmate and close friend of King’s; and Ali Saunders, a senior at Bainbridge High School and the president of the high school’s United Brothers and Sisters Club.

“Our motto is ‘Breaking down barriers, building up community,’ ” Saunders told the Bainbridge Island Review. “Some people think that the election of Obama means we reached the ‘Promised Land,’ but it has stirred up more. ‘The ‘Promised Land’ is where race is irrelevant, which is not yet true.”

Other speakers were Patricia Moncure Thomas, principal at Browns Point Elementary School, and president of the Black Historical Society of Kitsap County; state Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge, who authored “The Dream: The Speech That Inspired a Nation”; and Dr. Rosie Rimando Chareunsap, vice president of South Seattle Community College and one of the founding members and presidents of United Brothers and Sisters.

Here’s a list of other activities and commemorations in Kitsap County.

Jan. 19
— Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo, 16159 Clear Creek Road NW, Poulsbo.

Ground Zero celebrates King’s legacy of nonviolence and his stand against war under the theme “We Are One.”

The center hosts a day of activities, culminating in a Vigil & Action at the Bangor Trident nuclear submarine base. Registration (coffee, tea and snacks will be available) begins at 8:30 a.m. The program begins at 9:30 a.m. with introduction, orientation, video and discussion about MLK and action planning for the afternoon. A vigil and nonviolent protest will take place at the nearby Bangor Trident submarine base in the early afternoon. Participants will return to the meeting house at 3 p.m. Dress for January weather. Bring a sack lunch or a dish to share for lunch.

Jan. 21
— Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo, 16159 Clear Creek Road NW Poulsbo.

Ground Zero will march in the MLK Seattle Celebration to share King’s stand against war. According to, “We welcome participants to help hold our MLK banner or help carry the Ground Zero inflatable Trident missile. We will also hand out leaflets on Dr. King’s nonviolent legacy.”

Jan. 19 event info: (360) 930-8697 or Jan. 21 event info: Rodney Brunelle, (425) 485-7030 or

The following organizations have endorsed Ground Zero’s MLK events: Action des Citoyens pour le Désarmement Nucléaire (ACDN) France; Arab Human Security Network, Damascus, Syria (branch of UNESCO); Code Pink, Washington state; Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons Free World; Friends of the Earth, Australia; Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space; Jonah House, Baltimore, Md.; Lake Forest Park for Peace; Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple, Bainbridge Island; Peace Action West; Seattle Fellowship of Reconciliation; Seattle Raging Grannies; Tacoma Catholic Worker; The Nuclear Resister; Veterans for Peace, Portland, Ore., Chapter 72; Veterans for Peace, Seattle, Chapter 92; Voices for Creative Nonviolence; Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility; Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation (WWFOR).

Jan. 22
— Naval Undersea Museum, Keyport, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

CMDCM (AW/SW) Evelyn “Vonn” Banks, command master chief, Naval Sea Systems Command, will be the keynote speaker at Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport’s annual event honoring King’s life and work.   The event is free and open to the public.

Banks, a native of Memphis, Tenn. and honor graduate of Byhalia High School, Miss., enlisted in the U.S. Navy in January 1984. Her earlier assignments ranged from recruiting to Aviation Warfare Specialist and Surface Warfare Specialist.

Banks has served as command master chief of several commands, including Navy Support Facility, Diego Garcia; U.S. Naval Academy; and NAVSEA.

Banks was recognized as the NROTC Recruiter of the Year for her work at Navy Recruiting District, Memphis, Tenn. and Naval Air Station, Adak, Alaska. Decorations earned include the Legion of Merit (gold star), Meritorious Service Medal (gold star), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four gold stars), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (four gold stars), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.

Feb. 2
— Sing Out! 2013: Bainbridge Island. Sing with Pastor Patrinell Wright and the Total Experience Gospel Choir at Sing Out! 2013.

The day begins with a 1 p.m. workshop, followed by dinner at 5 p.m. in the Filipino-American Hall and the concert at 7 in the Bainbridge High School Commons.

All proceeds benefit the Bainbridge School Foundation and the Black Historical Society of Kitsap County. The workshop is $12, $8 students. Dinner is $12. The concert is $12, $8 students. Or participate in all three for $30, $20 students. Purchase dinner tickets by Jan. 30. Tickets are available at Winslow Drug, or call (206) 201-3675. Scholarships may be available. Info: (206) 842-4164 or

Wright founded Total Experience Gospel Choir in 1973. The choir has traveled and performed in 38 states, on five continents and in 22 countries. The choir consists of persons ages 7–72. The choir has to its credits numerous awards and seven recordings.

Wright received the Governor’s Ethnic Heritage Award for helping to preserve Black Gospel music in Washington state, the Women in Communication Award, the Jefferson Award for Outstanding Community Service, the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award, and the Edwin T. Pratt Award from the Urban League of Greater Seattle. She and the Total Experience Gospel Choir are featured artists on Dave Matthews’ CD “Same Devil” on the song “Save Me.” Her latest credit is on the soundtrack of the movie “Because of Winn Dixie” on the song “Glory, Glory.”

Wright and the Total Experience Gospel Choir assisted in relief work after Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. ABC News World News Tonight named her “Person of the Week” in May 2007, and DirectTV profiled Wright and the choir as Hometown Heroes on April 9, 2008 for their work on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.

In October 2007, Wright and the choir won a silver medal in the Ethnic and Pop categories at the  Busan, South Korea, International Choral Festival and Competition.

Ongoingn Petition: Martin Luther King Jr. Way NW.

A petition, initiated by the Bainbridge High School United Brothers and Sisters Club, calls for the West BHS campus entry street to be renamed Martin Luther King Jr. Way NW. You can sign the petition at

— WRITE TO US: Did you do something special  to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day? Tell us about it. Send an email to


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