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Martin Luther King Celebration Features Cicely Tyson

Media Contact:  John M. Lazarou
Phone:  410-502-8902


In what has become a much-anticipated annual tradition, Johns Hopkins Medicine will remember and honor civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. with tributes, music and community service awards during this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration.  The celebration will take place Friday, Jan. 16, in Turner Auditorium from noon to 1:30 p.m.  Headlining the annual tribute is keynote speaker Cicley Tyson, human rights activist, actress, and star of Roots, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and Sounder.

“It is with great pride that we honor the memory of Martin Luther King Jr.," said Levi Watkins, M.D., a cardiac surgeon who launched the MLK celebration in 1982.  He also serves as associate dean for postdoctoral programs at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  “Dr. King proved that there are indeed no boundaries for men and women dedicated to moving forward. Cicely Tyson continues that legacy."

Eleven employees, five from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and six (consisting of one team of four individuals) from the Hospital, will receive the institution’s annual Martin Luther King Award for Community Service in recognition of their volunteer community work during 2003.  (A complete list of winners with a description of their contributions is attached.) 

Tyson is a founding member of the Coalition for a Healthy and Active America.  In 2002, she was appointed by President George W. Bush as a Commissioner of the National African-American Museum of History and Culture.  Along with artistic director Arthur Mitchell, Tyson founded the internationally celebrated ballet company, The Dance Theater of Harlem (DTH), now in its 30th year.  She currently serves on the board of the DTH, as well as the American Film Institute, Urban Gateways, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.  Among her many accolades is the Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts, a public school renamed in her honor, located in East Orange, N.J., for some 700 underprivileged students.

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

Previous keynote speakers have included Coretta Scott King, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Rosa Parks, Dick Gregory, Andrew Young, Stevie Wonder, Danny Glover, Kweisi Mfume, Julian Bond, Maya Angelou, Taylor Branch and Hopkins surgeons Ben Carson and Watkins.

Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award

Rhonda Allen
Lead Parking Coordinator
Corporate Security, Parking & Transportation
Hopkins Hospital

For two years, Rhonda Allen has chaired the Share & Care Program, a project that provides Christmas gifts to hundreds of needy children in East Baltimore.  Beginning in the fall, Allen and her staff developed the lists of children and sponsors.  Then they shop, collect and wrap gifts. Finally, they stage the big, all-day holiday party for the children.  Thanks to Allen’s work and the generosity of other Hopkins employees and departments, the Share & Care Program has brought holiday cheer to more than 1,000 children and their families.

Willie R. Bell
Activity Specialist
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Hopkins Hospital

Mentor, tutor and community project organizer, Willie Bell has undertaken multiple volunteer jobs that enrich the lives of young people in his neighborhood.  He serves in the community’s Little League program and raises funds for cookouts, beach trips and sports activities for community youth.  Bell plants trees and flowers, boards up dilapidated, abandoned row homes and removes dangerous objects from the streets to keep the neighborhood safe.

Jeanne Charleston
Research Associate
Division of General Internal Medicine
School of Medicine

As the volunteer director of Church CHAMP, an organization that conducts church-based, health promotion programs throughout the Baltimore area,  Jeanne Charleston not only leads the group, but also regularly conducts classes.  Over the years, she has taught hundreds of individuals about cardiovascular disease prevention.  Charleston also spearheaded Church CHAMP’s popular Freedom Walk, an annual, three-mile community walk, that promotes physical activity among urban African Americans.

Lori N. Hackett
Special Events Coordinator
Dean’s Office, Bloomberg School of Public Health
Hopkins University

A consummate community volunteer, Lori Hackett counts working at food banks, mentoring children at an East Baltimore school and teaching reading skills to adults among her diverse service activities.  Not even Johns Hopkins has escaped the reach of her volunteer work.  Hackett is the past president and current chair of the outreach committee of the JHU Black Faculty and Staff Association.  Last fall for BFSA, she organized a back-to-school drive.  The project resulted in 170 bags stuffed with school supplies, all donated to an East Baltimore elementary school.

Jean K. Pendleton, CAC AD
Retiree, Hopkins Hospital
Pendleton spent more than 28 years on the staff of The Johns Hopkins Program for Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependencies, and though now retired, she continues to aid those battling addiction.  She is the volunteer advisor to the Broadway Alumni Group, a group of patients who have successfully completed a substance abuse program but who want to stay involved.  For six years, Jean has served as an officer on the board of directors for the Black Mental Health Alliance.  She also spent three years as a member of the state of Maryland ’s Criminal Justice & Substance Abuse Treatment Coalition.

Eden R. Stotsky
Health Education/Program Coordinator, Colon Cancer Center
Department of Surgery
School of Medicine

No one would have blamed Eden Stotsky if, following her own diagnosis of cancer six years ago, she had turned inward and spent time on herself.  Instead, she did the opposite and became an outgoing advocate and role model for children and young adults with cancer.  Stotsky is a volunteer with the Greater Baltimore unit of the American Cancer Society (ACS) as an event organizer, board member and fund-raiser.  For ACS’ Camp Sunrise, a summer camp for kids with cancer, and SunSibs, a weekend program for the siblings, she is a program planner and counselor.  For her hard work, Stotsky won the organization’s Youth Education Award.

David R. Thomas
Academic Program Coordinator
School of Professional Studies & Business Education
Hopkins University

Dedicated to combating domestic violence, David Thomas serves on numerous national boards, councils, committees and state organizations, including the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence.  As a longtime board member and immediate past president of the Network, he has helped develop policies that guide law enforcement, the courts, corrections personnel and others in work related to domestic violence.  Thomas’ volunteer efforts also have supported legislation that has made communities safer for domestic violence victims and their children.

Charles N. Gallagher (Chuck )
Bio-Medical Electronics Technician II
Dennis M. Haslup
Communication Supervisor, Johns Hopkins Lifeline Medical Transport
Mary W. Mullen
Database Coordinator, Department of Physician Services
Christine M. Davitt
Education and Development Coordinator, Department of Pathology, Core and Specialty Laboratories
For three years, this Hopkins Hospital team has been committed to the BOND to BOND Career Development Youth Mentoring Program, a project that provides students at Tench Tilghman Elementary School with early exposure to career planning and the excitement of visiting and learning about Johns Hopkins.  Working with the school’s principal, community liaison and fourth-grade teacher, the team, led by Mary Mullen, began by adopting one fourth-grade class.  They have now recruited enough volunteers to adopt all the fourth-grade classes at the East Baltimore school.

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