Civil rights activist speaker, community projects part of Durham Tech Martin Luther King, Jr. event

Durham Technical Community College will host its 34th annual event celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. event on Jan. 18.

The event features activities throughout the day, beginning with the main event that morning.

N.C. Rep. Henry M. Michaux, Jr. will be the main event’s featured speaker. Michaux was the longest-serving member of the North Carolina House of Representatives and a U.S. Army veteran. He has received numerous accolades including the NC NAACP Humanitarian Award and Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

The politician and civil rights activist also has a connection to King. King was a frequent guest to Michaux’s Durham home beginning when Michaux was 26.

Also on the program are performances by the Durham Tech MLK choir; remarks from faculty and staff including Durham Tech President Dr. Bill Ingram; and a showing of the trailer for “Best of Enemies,” an upcoming movie about a Durham civil rights activist.

Winners of the I Have a Dream Scholarship Award will receive their awards and read their winning essays.

"We are honored to have Rep. Michaux as our guest speaker this year,” said Jacequeline Mitchell, Chair of the MLK Planning Committee and Director of Certification and Career Training at Durham Tech. “Durham Tech first started hosting an event that honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. one year before it was observed as a national holiday (in 1986). I hope everyone who attends will have a wonderful time in fellowship."

After the main event, students and employees will gather to do various service projects.

On-campus projects include:

● Sleeping mats for the homeless: Participants will make sleeping mats for homeless people in Durham out of plastic shopping bags.
● Blankets for children at local hospitals, shelters: Blankets will be made by cutting and tying fleece and then given to be distributed by Project Linus to children at local hospitals and shelters.
● Port pillows for chemotherapy patients: Pillows will be produced for cancer patients with portacaths, a port under the skin used for chemotherapy, to attach to their seatbelts. Seatbelts are often uncomfortable for these individuals due to the fact that they rub against the port.

Off-campus, students and employees will spend the afternoon at Burton Elementary, sprucing up the teacher’s lounge and painting benches for the elementary school students.

The main event is only open to Durham Tech faculty and staff.