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Michigan Tech celebrates Martin Luther King, Junior

In a tradition that dates back to the 1980’s, Michigan Tech once again honored the life of Martin Luther King, Jr, the noted civil rights leader. The ceremony was virtual this year due to the pandemic, with an art exhibit on display in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library on campus.

President Richard Koubek commended the long history of the event, put on annually by the National Society of Black Engineers chapter on campus, and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

At Michigan Tech many of our students take time away from their studies to volunteer in their community to honor this day, which is a day our university has celebrated since 1989.

He gave way to alumna Tsitsi Hungwe for the keynote address. She focused on seeing the worth in all people, regardless of their status or how celebrated their accomplishments.

As Kurt Vonnegut once said, “I am a human being, not a human doing.”

The message not only carried on the legacy of Dr. King, but also highlighted the struggle to live up to our nation’s founding documents. It was a reminder that we are all created equal, endowed with natural and inalienable rights by our creator, and that we all matter and contribute to society as a whole.

There will never be another person like you to walk the face of this earth. The way you smile, the way you are built, the way you laugh, your personality. There will never, ever be another person like you.

Martin Luther King Day has been tied to community service since it began. Michigan Tech uses the banquet to celebrate the winner of the Bayard Rustin Award, given to someone who embodies the idea of being a servant leader on campus. Rustin was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously for being an organizer of the March on Washington, where King gave his famous “I Have A Dream” speech. This year’s recipient was Joseph Cooper.

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