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MLK event dedicated to carrying Dr. King's legacy forward

Don'Aysia Hankins said Dr. King's legacy is what inspired her to attend an event in Tacoma.

TACOMA, Wash. — Tacoma's celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Eastside Community Center had music and games. A station set up by Tacoma Boat Builders even taught kids how to make a land yacht.

But in the midst of all the fun, the main goal of the event was to carry Dr. King’s legacy forward.

Don'Aysia Hankins said Dr. King's legacy is part of what inspired her to attend the event. She was also at the event to help her father cater it.

As a student at Lincoln High, Don’Aysia had the day off from school. She could have been at home relaxing before her basketball game. Instead, she chose to be at the event.

“I think that serving people and giving back is very good for the heart and I think that just giving free food to people is going to make them happy," she said. "It’s good food; they don’t have to pay. I mean, why not?”

RELATED: Where to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day across Puget Sound

That attitude was seen throughout the Eastside Community Center on Monday as advocacy groups offered resources such as mental health screenings, domestic violence support, and counseling services.

Kaitlan Olher said the goal is to carry on the community building that Dr. King inspired.

“We’ve tried to model our events after what we feel he advocated for and the model he set for community," Olher said. "So we have a lot of partners here today, trying to do that work here.”

Meanwhile, Don’Aysia hopes to do what she can to look after her neighbors.

“I know that some people don’t have as much as I have, so I give away free shoes, free clothes, because I think [Dr. King] trying to make a better world for us is what I try to keep going and help people do.”

Her mother couldn’t be prouder.

“She has an older brother in college, and she’s striving to, if not be like him, than be better," Sincere Hankins said. "So my kids, I mean, I can’t say anything about them, nothing bad. They’re just amazing kids, and I’m very grateful that I was blessed with them.”

The City of Tacoma is also hosting its annual Celebration at 8 p.m. It’ll be a virtual event, and you can watch it on the city’s Facebook and YouTube channels, and TV Tacoma.