Martin Luther King Day events honor late civil rights leader and educate students

Malcolm Benedict

In recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) held several events focused on building community and honoring the late civil rights leader. On Jan. 11, the CDI hosted a craft day for students to create art about Dr. King’s life and work. There were several events on the holiday itself: an interfaith prayer vigil, a peace march on campus, a multitude of reading events at local schools and the capstone event, a banquet with a keynote speaker. 

 

The day started off with readings by volunteers at the local Barkell Elementary School and the Dollar Bay School. At noon, there was an interfaith prayer vigil at the Van Pelt and Opie Library for the religious communities and student organizations to reflect on Dr. King’s written works. Following this, there was a peace march on campus, led by Dr. Wallace Southerland III, the Dean of Students. 

 

To end the day, there was a banquet for Michigan Tech students and community in the Rozsa Center, with live jazz music and a keynote presentation by Michigan Tech alumni Dr. Tayloria Adams. Dr. Adams is the first African-American woman to have received a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Tech.

 

Artwork from the Jan. 11 craft day is on display at the Van Pelt and Opie Library. The exhibit is intended to not only remind viewers of Dr. King’s life and legacy, but to inspire them to act. “Students are encouraged to talk about, not just inclusiveness, but service,” said Gabriel Escobedo, the director of the CDI.

 

This was the first time in three years that the events were able to be held in person, due to COVID-19. The CDI staff were happy to be able to host the events due to the impact on the Michigan Tech community and the positive responses from the student body. “Our students are really excited about this, as well as many of our faculty and staff,” said Escobedo.