The University of Washington Tacoma (UW Tacoma) recently announced the return of the Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast after a two-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual event, which brings together students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the larger community, is being organized and hosted by the university’s Black Student Union (BSU). This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. John Gaines, who will speak on the theme of “Your Voice is Heard: activism, even in small ways, makes a difference.”
Dr. Gaines, who grew up in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood, knows firsthand the power of activism and overcoming adversity. At the age of seven, his mother passed away from a stroke due to her struggles with drug addiction. Dr. Gaines also dealt with depression and learning disabilities as a child. Despite these challenges, he persevered and went on to earn a Doctor of Business Administration degree from California Intercontinental University. In 2012, he founded Push for Dreams, a nonprofit organization that supports, trains, and equips educators and professionals with service-leadership skills and culturally responsive teaching.
In addition to the keynote address, the Unity Breakfast will also feature the presentation of Dream Awards, which recognize individuals and organizations for their work promoting equity, justice, and civil rights. The BSU has received support from various campus units, including the Center for Equity & Inclusion, the Center for Student Involvement, the Office of Community Partnerships, and the Division of Student Affairs.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast will take place on Monday, January 16, 2023, from 8:00 AM to 10:30 AM at the University YMCA Student Center. The event is open to the public, with advance tickets priced at $15 per person ($20 at the door). Following the Unity Breakfast, attendees are encouraged to participate in the City of Tacoma’s 2023 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration, which will be held at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center at 11 AM and will be broadcast live on TV Tacoma and Facebook. Overall, the event is an opportunity to come together and honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. while also learning from the inspiring story of Dr. John Gaines.