David Tracey/ Staff Photographer
Quote from Reverend James Lawson as part The “I Am A Man” virtual reality exhibit, on display at the African American Cultural Center. The exhibit runs from Jan. 10 through Feb. 6, found on the 2nd floor of Witherspoon Student Center.

Yesenia Jones | Staff Writer

The month of January encompasses many holidays, however, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is arguably one of the most important days to remember. In celebration of Dr. King’s birthday, NC State’s Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED) has planned various events to commemorate his life.

In past years, NC state has hosted numerous high-profile speakers as a part of their annual Dr. King Commemoration events. Yolanda King, Dr. King’s daughter, delivered a speech in 2003 to a crowd of approximately 500 students. According to a historical timeline created by NCSU Libraries, her speech empowered students to stand up against human rights issues of the early 2000’s.

To honor the legacy of Dr. King, NC State has continuously chosen commemoration themes that focused on social justice issues and student empowerment. The theme of this year’s calendar of events was entitled “The Power of Voice.” Following this theme, the events scheduled for the week contained empowering, human rights-centered content.

The week began with a day of service held on January 15. Students registered to volunteer at local homeless shelters in partnership with the United Way of the Greater Triangle. The events that followed included a speech from keynote speaker, Benjamin Jealous, a civil and human rights leader. Jealous’ speech was centered around the origins and consequences of racism in America.

Events that discussed similar issues will follow later in the week. The African American Cultural Center hosted an interactive virtual reality exhibit: “I Am A Man.” The exhibit showcases the Memphis Sanitation Workers’ strike that was held after King’s assassination and will be on display until February 6.

Universities in the surrounding area have also held their own versions of events to celebrate. Shaw University’s theme for this year was “Let Freedom Ring! Continuing the Dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Struggle for Freedom for future Generations.”

The keynote speaker for Shaw Universities commemoration celebration is Dr. Eric Williams, a curator of religion at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.