Martin Luther King: Michigan Tech Celebrates a Legacy

by Erika Vichcales, student writing intern

Today is the day we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr., an American icon who is known for using nonviolent civil disobedience to progress towards civil rights. Michigan Tech’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion is hosting many events this week in honor of Martin Luther King.

Though this is the 25th year that Michigan Tech is celebrating MLK Day, the nation has been officially celebrating since 1986. It was a battle to turn MLK Day into a national holiday. Originally, King’s birthday--Jan. 15--was proposed as the date for the holiday. Then, for several years, states passed their own bills to celebrate the civil rights leader’s birthday.

In Nov. of 1979, a bill proposed to the US House of Representatives was defeated by five votes. This caused King’s wife, Coretta, to circulate a second petition to collect even more signatures than the one that led to the proposal that Congress voted down.

Musician Stevie Wonder joined Coretta King to fight for the bill. Wonder’s song, Happy Birthday, became an anthem for their cause. Mrs. King and Wonder brought a petition to Congress with six million signatures. A bill making MLK Day a holiday then passed the House by a vote of 338 to 90. After another struggle, the bill also passed the Senate, and President Ronald Reagan signed the MLK holiday bill into law on Nov. 2, 1983. The first official celebration occurred on the third Monday of Jan. 1986.

“To me it [Martin Luther King Day] means honoring a man who refused to back down from fighting for equality and justice for all, even when faced with repeated violence, he preached nonviolent, peaceful resistance, said Kellie Raffaelli, assistant director of Michigan Tech’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion. “Dr. King believed in equality for all, and he literally gave his life fighting for it. It is gravely important that future generations understand what he stood for and what he accomplished and what work still needs to be done to make his dream a reality.”

Events celebrating Martin Luther King’s life and legacy began on Sunday, Jan. 19 with an Interfaith Service in the Memorial Union, honoring the important role faith played in King’s life work. The week’s activities continue with:

* Today, a Day of Service Project. Students and staff volunteer will read about King’s life and work to students at Houghton Elementary and Barkell Elementary in Hancock.

* Today, the 25th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Banquet, 6 p.m. in the Memorial Union Ballroom. Max Seel, Michigan Tech provost and vice president of academic affairs, will give the keynote address, and Momentum Jazz Trio will perform. Tickets for the banquet are free and available at the Center for Diversity and Inclusion while they last.

* Tuesday, Jan. 21, Michigan Tech and Finlandia University faculty, staff and students will host a public discussion about social justice and equality titled “Where have we been? Where are we going?” The program will be in the Great Lakes Research Center Room 201 at 4 p.m.

* Wednesday, Jan. 22, there will be a viewing of "King: A Filmed Record." The documentary follows King from 1955 to 1968. It will be shown in Fisher Hall 135 at 7 p.m. The film is free and open to the public.

Memorial Ceremony for Domestic Assault Victim

The Iranian Community at Michigan Tech, with support from International Programs and Services (IPS) and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI), will host a memorial ceremony for Sanaz Nezami, 27, a newly admitted graduate student who passed away after falling victim to domestic assault in Dollar Bay. We will get together to share community-wide feelings about this nationally and internationally covered tragic incident, which has affected several lives. The event will be held 5 to 6 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 28 in MUB Ballroom B.

Khana Khazana Jobs Open

Three paid leadership positions are available for the Khana Khazana International cuisine program. Responsibilities include scheduling and controlling labor and food costs, marketing, food purchasing and menu development. Strong organizational and communication skills are required.

Interested candidates should contact Chef Eric Karvonen at

University Senate Meeting Wednesday

Meeting #542 of the University Senate of Michigan Tech will convene at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 22, in Dow 642.

Senators are responsible for making their constituents aware of this meeting’s agenda. If neither the Senator nor the Alternate can attend, they should send a substitute.

1) Roll Call of Senators and Recognition of Visitors
2) Approval of Agenda
3) Approval of Minutes from Meeting #541
4) Presentation: “Building a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula” by Jason Carter, Department Chair Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology. See slides.
5) Old Business:
a. Proposal 10-14: “Amendment to Senate Policy 201.1: Office of Ombuds” presented by Administrative Policy Committee (Voting Units: Full Senate)
b. Proposal 11-14: “M.S. in Kinesiology” presented by Curricular Policy and Finance Committee (Voting Units: Academic)
c. Proposal 12-14: “M.S. in Accounting” presented by Curricular Policy and Finance Committee (Voting Units: Academic)
d. Proposal 13-14: “Improving Communication with the Board of Control” presented by Senate Executive Committee (Voting Units: Full Senate)
e. Proposal 14-14: “Honors College at Michigan Tech” presented by Senate Executive Committee (Voting Units: Academic)
6) New Business:
a. Proposal 1-14: “Proposal for Consistency in Vehicle Registration Fees for Staff/Faculty Parking” presented by Fringe Benefits Committee (Voting Units: Full Senate)
b. Proposal 15-14: “Request for Change in Board of Control Policy 6.7 on Sabbatical Leave” presented by Research Policy Committee (Voting Units: Academic)
c. Proposal 16-14: “Procedure to Enhance Confidentiality and Anonymity in Administrators Review Surveys” presented by Administrative Policy Committee (Voting Units: Full Senate)
7) Reports
a. President’s Report
b. Senate Committee Reports
8) Adjournment

Jazz Cabaret: Three Bands and Two Nights of "Backstage Jazz"

See the Rozsa stage transformed into an intimate jazz-club atmosphere with the Jazz Cabaret: Backstage at the Rozsa, on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 24-25, at 7:30 p.m., each night, and enjoy two nights of small group jazz. Both evenings will showcase dynamic music featuring JazTec, Djangology and Momentum with special guests, in an atmosphere and vibe of a "New York club" with the unique jazz club of the "Backstage".

JazTec is a quintet that focuses on BeBop and small combo jazz. Djangology is a hot club swing quartet playing a mix of Gypsy jazz and original tunes. Momentum is a sextet that focuses on modern jazz and funk as well as extended improvisation. It’s three bands bringing you two hot nights of jazz. The stage becomes a jazz lounge with cocktail tables and cash bar. Special guests will perform both nights.

Tickets are: Adults $13, Youth $5, Students $5 or Michigan Tech students free with Experience Tech Fee. For tickets, go online, or call Ticketing Operations at the Student Development Complex, 7–2073, or visit in person. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Please note the Rozsa Box Office is closed during regular business hours, and will only open two hours prior to show times.

Butte and the Keweenaw Peninsula were the world’s two leading suppliers of copper in 1913. At the time, Butte miners had been unionized for three decades, setting a standard Michigan miners hoped to achieve when they went on strike that year. Join Fred Quivik as he compares the mining districts, exploring ways that two different mineral deposits helped to shape two distinct mining histories.

In 1887, Butte surpassed Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula as the world’s largest supplier of copper. From then until World War I, Butte and the Keweenaw remained the United States’ two most important copper mining districts. The Keweenaw’s mines produced native copper, meaning the metal came out of the ground as pure copper, whereas Butte’s mines produced copper sulfide ores: chemically bound in mineral compounds, composed of copper, sulfur, iron and arsenic. These compounds had to be taken apart in order to place pure copper on the market.

Quivik, an associate professor of history at Michigan Tech, will reveal how differences in the nature of the districts’ ore bodies helped to shape significantly different histories in the two places, including their histories of organized labor. He will also briefly describe differences in population distribution, technological developments, corporate consolidation, occupational hazards and environmental impacts.

This presentation will take place at 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 23, at the Keweenaw National Historical Park headquarters, located at 25970 Red Jacket Road in Calumet. It is free and open to the public.

The Fourth Thursday in History series arranges public presentations on important aspects of Copper Country and regional history, including techniques for historic preservation. Presentations are scheduled in venues throughout the Keweenaw Peninsula, particularly at historic sites associated with specific topics. They are free and open to the public.

For further information, including specific directions to this event, contact Keweenaw National Historical Park at 337-3168 or check the web at

Presentation on Affordable Alternative Energy Tomorrow

John Hofmeister will be giving a presentation on affordable energy alternatives in a nation of people addicted to oil, tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 21, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in EERC 508. Hofmeister is the founder and CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy, former president of Shell Oil Company and the author of the book, "Why We Hate The Oil Companies: Straight Talk from an Energy Insider."

The presentation will be via a live video feed from Northern Michigan University, that will offer the Michigan Tech audience the opportunity to ask questions of the speaker. The event is cohosted by the School of Business and Economics, Chemical Engineering and the Sustainable Futures Institute.