Events to celebrate MLK Jr.’s birthday

“Creating a Beloved Community,” taken from a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr., is again the theme for the MLK, Jr. Celebration Day on Jan. 20. Five events are planned for Alpena to help celebrate the birthday of this important civil rights leader.

The Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce will host a Business Training at 8 a.m. The speaker for this event will be Linda Jarmillo, a Latina-American who has been involved in human rights and social, racial and economic justice.

Jarmillo holds a degree in Business Administration from Portland (Ore.) State University. She will talk about the benefits and impact of equal employment, consumer needs, and diversity in the workplace.

This event is by invitation only. For more details, call 354-4181.

In the afternoon, Jarmillo will speak at an Alpena High School assembly. This event is sponsored by the 50-plus member International Cultural Exchange Club at the high school. Key students who planned this include Caitlin Borke, Dylan Goike, Liz Meier, Courtney VanWagoner and Phoebe Wojciechowski.

In conjunction with the assembly, the students also came up with a concept for a “Creating a Better Community” banner. The banner, which will be prominently displayed at each planned activity on Jan. 20, will feature large block letters that everyone supporting the cause will be invited to sign. At the conclusion of the MLK, Jr. activities, the banner will be displayed for the week at Culligan Plaza.

“What excited me was the creative brainstorming and visioning of these high schoolers, not the adult members of the MLK Committee, who came up with the wonderful idea about creating the banner, asking for commitment signatures, and displaying it downtown,” said Greg Adamus, a member of the MLK, Jr. Celebration Day Committee.

“I’m particularly proud that the adults involved were flexible and trusting enough to see this grandiose vision to fruition,” Adamus said. “For me, that’s what’s especially great about this year’s MLK Day celebration. Several generations deliberated together as equals regardless of age, and each helped the other achieve a common goal.”

Industrial Image, Inc. of Alpena donated the design for the banner. The designers were Joey Jackson and Jacqueline Edwards.

The community also is invited to view the documentary, “The Color of Fear,” that will be shown at 2 p.m. at Van Lare Hall in Room 114, across from the main campus of Alpena Community College. The documentary features eight North American men of different races. Their view of race relations is the feature of the film. A discussion after the film will be led by Matt Dunckel, a geography and history faculty member at ACC.

At 5 p.m., the public is invited to a chili supper that will be held in the ACC Lumberjack Shack. Tickets for the meal are $8 for adults and $4 for students and children under 12.

Tickets may be purchased at the door. The profits from this event go to the “Wash Your Coat Project,” which provides free washer and dryer service to those in the community in need of this assistance.

The chili supper is sponsored by three local churches-First Congregational United Church of Christ, Grace Lutheran Church and St. Paul Lutheran Church.

At 7 p.m., the community is invited to ACC’s Newport Center, Room 106, to hear Jarmillo. She is the first Hispanic to serve on United Church of Christ’s Collegium of Officers. She will share her own story of growing up in a segregated school system in Southern Colorado.

Jarmillo has a long history of involvement in justice issues. She co-facilitated an historic dialogue process between African-American and Latino communities in the Portland, Ore. area.

These events have been planned by the MLK, Jr. Celebration Day Committee. Members include Greg Adamus, Dottie Haase, Vernon Jones, Paul Lance and Tom Orth.