Newly selected Mayor Debbie Bertlin proclaims Jan. 15 as Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Tuesday’s Mercer Island City Council meeting. Representatives from Mercer Island Democracy in Action and One MI, Jennifer Guerrero Flood and Robin Li, accepted the proclamation. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Newly selected Mayor Debbie Bertlin proclaims Jan. 15 as Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Tuesday’s Mercer Island City Council meeting. Representatives from Mercer Island Democracy in Action and One MI, Jennifer Guerrero Flood and Robin Li, accepted the proclamation. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Mercer Island celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy

City proclaims Jan. 15 as MLK Day, with the help of community groups dedicated to inclusivity.

Mercer Island celebrated an enduring leader’s “message of peace and service and his dream of pursuing a world free from prejudice and injustice,” proclaiming Jan. 15 as Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Mercer Island City Council issued a proclamation at its Jan. 9 meeting in advance of the holiday honoring the civil rights activist and minister.

“This proclamation recognizes the impact of Dr. King’s contributions on our nation, state, and community, and urges the Mercer Island community to join and pay tribute to the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and apply his life and teachings of service to inspire others to serve and remember his spirit of community,” newly elected Mayor Debbie Bertlin said while reading the proclamation.

Accepting the proclamation were representatives from Mercer Island Democracy in Action (MIDA) and ONE MI: Jennifer Guerrero Flood and Robin Li.

Li said that Mercer Island is very diverse, culturally and generationally, and that these groups are helping to build toward an inclusive community.

MIDA is a community organization with 477 members that advocates for democratic principles and progressive values, and fights against regressive actions and policies in the community, state and country. Founded in November 2016, MIDA works to create an inclusive community for people of all races, cultures, religions, abilities, sexual orientations and gender identities, and advocates for associated policies on Mercer Island and beyond.

Last year, MIDA collaborated with the Mercer Island Police Department to update its immigration policy so all members of the community, regardless of immigration status, can feel safe despite new national immigration policies.

Flood, who founded MIDA and currently co-leads the organization with a volunteer steering committee, has spent her professional life in education. She has taught at the elementary and secondary levels, developed federal policy at the U.S. Department of Education, and currently consults for school districts and education policy organizations in Washington and beyond. On Mercer Island, she serves as the co-VP for Advocacy on the PTA Council and also on Island Park’s PTA board.

ONE MI, founded in early 2017, is a community group committed to growing inclusivity, diversity and equity on Mercer Island. The group has grown from a handful of families to currently including over 100 members. ONE MI works to enhance positive identity for children of color, advance cultural competency in the Mercer Island community and drive community-level policy change for equity.

Li, a founding member of ONE MI, is a writer and historian currently at work on a book manuscript exploring mid-century U.S.-China relations through the oral histories of Chinese student immigrants to the U.S. Her work focuses on narrations of identity formation, particularly as impacted by occupation, race and geography. Her research areas include oral history, U.S. cultural studies, transnational American history, memory and narrative. As a Mercer Island parent and community member, Li has been an active volunteer with the PTSA and serves on the Superintendent’s Diversity Advisory Committee.

The groups are planning events for Chinese New Year, Juneteenth and Dia de los Muertos this year. See their Facebook pages for more information.

City facilities and the Mercer Island Library will be closed on Jan. 15. for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. See www.mercergov.org and www.kcls.org for more.

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