King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove on Tuesday, June 4, 2024, awarded Shamso Issak with the Martin Luther King Jr. Medal of Distinguished Service, an award that recognizes individuals whose work has answered the question asked by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “What are you doing for others?

“Shamso Issak truly is the heart of South King County,” Upthegrove said. “She has tirelessly advocated for the health and wellness of immigrants and refugees and has always done so with a smile on her face and a kind word for everyone around her. She faithfully represents the ideals of Martin Luther King Jr. and I am proud to call her my friend.”

Issak, the found and director of Living Well Kent, has a diverse background that she applies to build collaborative, sustainable, and adaptable partnerships in low-income, immigrant and refugee communities to bring healthier living to everyone.

Living Well Kent is a community-driven organization working to provide public spaces and initiatives that encourage healthier lifestyles and better living. Issak’s work there includes early learning and language development to the community, food access through their greenhouse and farmer’s market program and efforts to empower youth in their communities. More info here:

This marks the ninth year that councilmembers have each selected someone from their district whose work embodies the spirit of King’s question.


Below is video of the awards presentation, courtesy King County TV:

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