Special to Iredell Free News

Mitchell Community College staff, students and community residents celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Friday in Shearer Hall on the Statesville Campus. The event was sponsored by Mitchell’s Equity and Inclusion Council.

Facilities Support Services staff member Roy Davidson recited King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech to an attentive crowd.

“I don’t pretend to be Dr. King up here today,” Davidson said. “But I will deliver this speech just as Dr. King did that day as a part of the March on Washington for jobs, freedom and equality.” His tribute speech was met with a standing ovation.

The audience sang along with music students Wynston Lyles and Laila Willie, who performed “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

Keynote speaker Tracy Moore, who serves as associate vice president for student engagement at Central Piedmont Community College, encouraged those in attendance to find their purpose.

“If you haven’t found something worth dying for, then you are not fit to live,” Moore said, paraphrasing the civil rights icon.

An advocate for social justice education, Moore educates students year after year about King’s legacy, providing positive energy and intentional focus on the well-being of a dynamic community of learners.

Growing up only six miles from The Lorraine Motel where King was assassinated in 1968, Moore was raised to understand the impact of MLK’s life and legacy. Those lessons influenced his decision to embark his life’s work with a spirit of love.

Moore quoted King’s final speech, which took place in Memphis on April 3, 1968:

“Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge, to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation.”

The civil rights leader made a decision, Moore said, to stand for justice and equality.

“People often wonder how you celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and I say as a ‘day on’ and not a ‘day off.’ So I encourage you, I admonish you, do not take a day off. Make it a ‘day on.’ ”