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Annual MLK conference slated for January

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shakes his fist during a speech in Selma, Ala., Feb. 12, 1965. King was engaged in a battle with Sheriff Jim Clark over voting rights and voter registration in Selma.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shakes his fist during a speech in Selma, Ala., Feb. 12, 1965. King was engaged in a battle with Sheriff Jim Clark over voting rights and voter registration in Selma. Associated Press file

This year’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Saturday Conference will be Jan. 14 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Whatcom Community College’s Syre Center. The theme for this 19th annual conference is “Working Passionately and Unrelentingly for Justice.”

Neah Monteiro, executive director for the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center, is looking forward to the conference and getting the word out on “disrupting oppression.”

“For me, the highlight of the conference is that it’s the one weekend of the year that hundreds of community members set aside for building skills and community to challenge injustice,” Monteiro said.

The conference will have workshops focused on skill-building offered by community members including K-12 and college students and educators and anti-racist community organizers. Teachers will receive continuing education hours provided by the Bellingham School District.

“For everyone who right now is wondering what they can do – how to resist fascist policies like Muslim registries, immigrant detention, and the deeply rooted structural racism and colonialism of the U.S. – this is a good place to come and learn,” Monteiro said.

Western Washington University President Sabah Randhawa will speak about his commitment to diversity and inclusion while the associate dean for Woodring College of Education, Karen Dade, will present the afternoon keynote speech. For more than 20 years, Dade has focused her research on fighting racism in schools. She has been involved in numerous committees and organizations that focus on diversity and social justice.

Later in December, a detailed schedule of workshops offered will be released on the Whatcom Human Rights Task Force website.

Vanessa Thomas: 360-715-2289, @vaney_t13

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