Please join us for the 25th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Human Rights Conference this coming January. Since its inception in 1999, thousands of community members have come together to renew their commitment to the ideals of peace, justice, and collective liberation that Dr. King held so dear. Dr. King was not alone in his fight for freedom, working with many other great leaders and community members, just as we must work together to build the beloved community he dreamed of. For the past 25 years, the Dr. King Conference has curated spaces for Whatcom County to learn, grow, and connect together to share our visions for dismantling white supremacy to create a just and equitable world where everyone thrives.

The title of the 2023 conference is “From Divine Dissatisfaction to Joyful Liberation: How Do We Co-create a Beloved Whatcom County?” This theme is taken from Dr. King’s sermon “Where Do We Go From Here?”, which he gave at the annual convention of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia on August 16, 1967.  Dr. King urges us to “go out with a divine dissatisfaction.” He continues:

Let us be dissatisfied until America will no longer have a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds. Let us be dissatisfied until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the forces of justice. Let us be dissatisfied until those who live on the outskirts of hope are brought into the metropolis of daily security. Let us be dissatisfied until slums are cast into the junk heaps of history, and every family will live in a decent, sanitary home.

With the wealth gap ever widening nationally and here at home, we see more of our neighbors struggling to access affordable housing, healthcare, food and basic living supplies, or have the privilege to rest, celebrate, create, and heal – with Black and Indigenous people facing more barriers than their white counterparts. Let us be dissatisfied with where we are now and recommit to building a Beloved Whatcom County, until “from every city hall, justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream”.

Thanks to the continued support of individuals, organizations, and businesses in the community, the Conference will be free and open to all, as it has been since its inception. The conference will be hybrid, with an in-person and live-streamed poetry night on Thursday evening, online and live-streamed opening ceremony and keynote on Friday evening, and concurrent workshop sessions all day on Saturday, January 14th on Zoom.

Past Conferences