Civil Rights Leader to Speak at 30th Annual Hopkins Celebration Honoring His Father, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King III, a noted civil rights and community leader who spoke at Hopkins’ first commemoration in 1982, will serve as keynote speaker at this year’s milestone event honoring his father, slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The theme is “Peace, Love and Dignity: King’s Ultimate Challenge.” In what has become a much-anticipated annual tradition, Johns Hopkins Medicine will remember and honor Dr. King with tributes, music and community service awards. The celebration, which will take place on Friday, Jan. 6, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Turner Auditorium, is only for employees and not the general public.
“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,” says Levi Watkins Jr., M.D., associate dean for postdoctoral programs and professor of cardiac surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Watkins launched the MLK commemoration in 1982 to honor the man who was his pastor and mentor while growing up in segregated Montgomery, Ala. “Dr. King proved,” he says, “that there are indeed no boundaries for men and women who are dedicated to the dream he articulated.”
The tribute also will recognize the outstanding community service and civil rights activities of Johns Hopkins employees, eight of whom will be awarded this year. The awardees, four from Hopkins’ School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins Health System, one from The Johns Hopkins University and three from The Johns Hopkins Hospital, will receive the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Community Service in recognition of their volunteer community work during 2011.
Additionally, this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Ideals Award will go to a recipient whose name will be announced during the event.
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 Emmy Award-winning actress Louis Gossett Jr., Lynn Whitfield, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., Cicely Tyson, Danny Glover, the late Mrs. Coretta 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.