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Civil Rights Advocate to Speak at Annual Hopkins Event Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. - 01/09/2008

Civil Rights Advocate to Speak at Annual Hopkins Event Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

Release Date: January 9, 2008

The Rev. Al Sharpton, a Baptist minister, radio and television personality and outspoken civil rights advocate, will be the featured speaker at the 2008 event honoring Martin Luther King Jr.   In what has become a much-anticipated annual tradition, Johns Hopkins Medicine will remember and honor the civil rights leader with tributes, music and community service awards during this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration.  The celebration will take place on Friday, Jan. 11, in Turner Auditorium from noon to 1:30 p.m. 

The tribute also recognizes and honors community service and civil rights activities by JHM employees — eight this year.

“It is with great pride that we honor Dr. King’s memory, and after more than a quarter-century, Hopkins leadership continues to place significant value on this event,” said Levi Watkins Jr., M.D., associate dean for postdoctoral programs at the School of Medicine and professor of cardiac surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who launched the MLK commemoration in 1982.  “Dr. King proved that there are indeed no boundaries for men and women who are dedicated to the dream he articulated.”

The eight employees, four from The Johns Hopkins Hospital and four from The Johns Hopkins University, will receive the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Awards for Community Service from Hopkins in recognition of their volunteer community work during 2007.  (A complete list of winners with a description of their contributions is attached.) 

The presentation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Ideals Award this year will go to a recipient whose name will not be announced until the ceremonies.

Watkins again presides as master of ceremonies.  Unified Voices, a chorus of Hopkins employees and community members, will provide entertainment during the commemoration. 

Speakers at Hopkins’ previous Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorations were the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., Cicely Tyson, Danny Glover, the late Mrs. Rosetta Scott King, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Rosa Parks, Dick Gregory, Andrew Young, Stevie Wonder, Kweisi Mfume, Julian Bond, Taylor Branch and Hopkins surgeons Ben Carson and Watkins.

Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award

L. Philomen (“Phil”) Allen
Development and Alumni Relations/Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
The Johns Hopkins University

As a police officer’s wife, Phil lives with the stress of having a husband who might at any time be whisked from family meals and return home having narrowly escaped harm. Disappointed by the absence of resources to help those “married to the badge,” she launched her own organization. She sought scholarships for children of police officers and subsidized counseling for officers and outreach to those injured on the job. Three years later, the Law Enforcement Families’ Association Inc. is an established nonprofit that counts six law enforcement agencies among its members. As the organization’s executive director, treasurer and Web site manager, Phil volunteers 25 hours a week to ensure that officers and their families are better equipped emotionally to serve our community.

Christina Cardella
Registered Nurse/Oncology
The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Christina carves out three hours a week to help at a local food kitchen. She also spends 10 days a year spearheading a medical mission to a small village in Mexico with 21 volunteers from her church. Months before, Christina solicits donations of clothing and medical supplies. Once in Mexico, she not only coordinates medical care, she mentors the impoverished community about farming and life skills. Closer to home, Christina launched the Rockwell/Hackerman dinner program for patients and families staying near the Hospital as loved ones undergo treatment. Four times a year, she and fellow Weinberg nurses prepare and serve these families a meal. A deeply religious person, Christina mentors teens and is a confirmation teacher for the Baltimore Archdiocese.

Patrick Cummings
Senior Associate Program Chair
Biotechnology Advanced Academic Programs/Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
The Johns Hopkins University

Patrick has devoted about eight hours a week for the past four years to feeding and caring for the needy. As president of the Catonsville Emergency Food Ministry, which provides food, clothing and eviction prevention for about 1,000 families a year, Patrick has raised funds and is developing a strategic plan to expand the group’s programs. At the same time, through his church, Patrick helps prepare casseroles for Our Daily Bread, a local soup kitchen. Past president of the Maryland branch of the American Society for Microbiology and a Baltimore Speakers Bureau volunteer, Patrick also shares
his expertise at Anne Arundel Community College’s lab science program, where he’s an advisory board member.

John P. Fuller
Diversity/EEO Officer
Johns Hopkins Health System

John has organized food bank and clothing drives for two Native American reservations and helped with personal tax returns and emergency funding.  A board member of the National Council for Support of Disability Issues, he also moderates nationwide online forums and provides referrals for education, employment and accommodation. A certified court mediator, John counsels low-income families with landlord-tenant disputes — pro bono. He’s been a guest on 54 radio stations nationwide, speaking on sexual harassment and how to develop an inclusive workplace.  In the Muslim community, John serves as a board member of the Institute for MultiTrack Diplomacy. He’s coached girls’ high school soccer since 1993 and hopes his latest project, an exchange soccer match between the Libyan National Team and DC United Professional soccer team, will promote peace on and off the field.

Anita Johnson
Addictions Counselor
The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Years before joining Hopkins, Anita volunteered for a nonprofit AIDS organization, where she noticed that the women clients seemed especially discouraged. Many had no money to update their wardrobes, so Anita started bringing in clothes she didn’t wear anymore. “When I saw the joy on their faces,” she recalls, “I told everyone in my family to go through their closets and pitch in.” From that initial effort, the project, now called the Neville Family and Friends Clothing Ministry, has grown to serve more than 30 different community organizations, with clothing for women, men and children that’s collected and delivered Monday through Saturday by volunteers. The group accepts only clothing to keep the focus on helping
others look their best despite the hardships they face.

Martina Leinz
Professional Development Specialist, Career Services
School of Advanced International Studies
The Johns Hopkins University

When Martina was in high school, one of her classmates shot and killed several people at an elementary school. Ever since, Martina’s been a proponent of gun control. As president of the Virginia chapter of the Million Mom March, she advocates for gun legislation and meets with survivors and family members of victims of gun violence.  For the past seven years, she’s volunteered 15 hours every week to this cause.  Martina’s activism has helped thwart legislation that would allow guns in Virginia bars and restrict pediatricians from asking about gun safety in patients’ homes. In the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy, in which a student went on a shooting rampage, Martina worked closely with survivors and family members to craft testimony on banning guns from college campuses.

Martin Wanda Moss
Project Analyst Facilities Engineering
The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Having grown up in a troubled neighborhood, Wanda saw many students drop out of school and either land low-paying jobs or opt for a life of crime and drugs. “Someone’s got to give these kids a leg up,” says the 32-year Facilities employee, “or they’ll choose the street.” To that end, for the past eight years, she’s mentored two groups of children — fourth graders from the Hopkins/Tench-Tilghman program and teens from Malcolm X High, who serve as summer interns in her department. Her presentations begin in their classrooms and are followed by daylong tours of the Hospital. Two years ago, Wanda took over the high school intern program. Besides ensuring that the interns perform their duties, she helps identify opportunities to help them reach their personal goals. On Sundays, she keeps her teaching skills sharp by mentoring kids at her church.

Paul Thompson
Utility Worker, Maintenance and Operations
School of Medicine

This will be the sixth year that Paul plans to participate in a 5K walk for the American Diabetes Association. He doesn’t have diabetes, nor does anyone in his immediate family. But single-handedly, he’s raised more than $40,000. “There are so many people who have this disease,” he says. “So I really would like to find a cure, and I know we have research going on right here at Hopkins.” Paul, who begins soliciting pledges in late summer for the October walk, is consistently one of the top three fund-raisers for the American Diabetes Association.

For the Media

Media Contact:

John M. Lazarou
Phone:  410-502-8902
E-mail:  jlazaro1@jhmi.edu

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