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Remembering Through Service: 31st Annual Tribute to Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

UMass Medical School recognizes student community service grants, staff civility and diversity

By Sandra Gray and Megan Bard

UMass Medical School Communications

January 29, 2019
  Keynote speaker Jason Johnson, PhD
 

Keynote speaker Jason Johnson, PhD

The annual MLK Celebration of Service is an opportunity for the UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care community to come together and celebrate the legacy of Dr. King by highlighting the importance of service. This year’s theme, Remembering Through Service, is inspired by Dr. King’s words that “everyone can be great because anybody can serve.”

Keynote speaker Jason Johnson, PhD, professor of politics and journalism at Morgan State University, addressed a standing room only crowd in the Faculty Conference Room Monday afternoon, and asked that they not ride the moral arc in hopes that it leads to justice, but to instead take an active role in breaking the historical cycle of oppression and discrimination in the United States.

Dr. Johnson, a frequent commentator on MSNBC and other national and international news media and author of Political Consultants and Campaigns: One Day to Sell, said, “We have a unique opportunity to change the cycle of this country. The moral arch doesn’t bend because of nature. It bends because of the actions of people. We can change what is going to happen to this country if we choose to embrace our history and change the future that we have previously been trapped into.”

Johnson offered three suggestions to live King’s mission: redefine what activism is in America; recognize the difference between a man and a moment; and dream more impossible dreams.

Prior to Johnson’s address, Michael L. Gustafson, MD, MBA, president of UMass Memorial Medical Center, highlighted a number of initiatives underway at the medical center and medical school that illuminate the relevance of King’s message in today’s environment.

  Jeffrey Way, 2019 Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion recipient
 

Jeffrey Way (third from right), recipient of the 2019 Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion, pictured with Dr. Johnson and leaders from UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial

Chancellor Michael F. Collins followed by presenting Jeffrey Way, senior administrative manager at MassBiologics, with the Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion, calling Way a “beacon of advocacy who demonstrates an ever-present commitment to inclusion, diversity and civility.”

“Colleagues describe Way, who is co-chairman of the MassBiologics Diversity Sub-Committee, as a person who models the values of engagement and inclusion, collegiality and collaboration each and every day,” said Collins. “In your daily example, we are reminded that civility, diversity and inclusion is a commitment all of us must make.”

In that same spirit, Terence R. Flotte, MD, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor of Medical Education, executive deputy chancellor, provost and dean of the School of Medicine, recognized recipients of the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Semester of Service Student Awards. Students will use the $500 awards to continue a STEM enrichment program for middle school girls, educate Worcester college students about consent and overall sexual health, and conduct a project with a Worcester refugee support organization that creatively addresses challenges in young refugees’ lives.

  2019 recipients of the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Semester of Service Student Awards
  Recipients of the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Semester of Service Student Awards,  pictured with Dr. Johnson and leaders from UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial

The MLK Semester of Service Student Award program is a community service initiative that enhances UMMS students’ health care education as they extend the institution’s impact and reach in the communities that surround the Worcester campus.

Prior to the speaking program, those who attended the luncheon were treated to an a cappella selection from the Knights of Zion Men’s Group from the Belmont AME Zion Church in Worcester. At the conclusion of the event, the audience sang Lift Every Voice and Sing.

Watch a video that was shown at the celebration.

Related story on UMassMedNow:
2019 MLK Semester of Service Student Awards support community service initiatives

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