On Friday, January 17, 2020, Johns Hopkins held its 38th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration program in Turner Auditorium. The theme of the event was More Than 50 Years Later: Where Do We Go From Here?
During the event, Dr. Sherita Hill Golden, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for Johns Hopkins Medicine, asked the event’s Keynote Speaker Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, President and Dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine questions in a “conversation-like” setting. During their discussion Dr. Montgomery Rice, who is the first woman to lead the Morehouse School of Medicine. highlighted Dr. King’s quote at the top of this story.
“If you want more black males in the classroom, just do it,” she said in noting the decline in the number of black males in the U.S. applying to medical school. “Figure out a way to find those students who have the scores and accept them. Put the resources in place. It’s not rocket science. Then as you do it, make room for significant conversations. We all gain by working together and that quote says it all.”
Dr. Robert Higgins is Director for the Department of Surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
“This event is an opportunity for all of us to pay homage to a great leader and humanitarian,” said Dr. Higgins. “Dr. King’s legacy lives on and on today and forever.”
During the event, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award was presented to Hopkins employees making exemplary contributions to their communities.
“Today we honor Dr. King’s memory by presenting these awards,” said Jennifer Nickoles, Vice President for Operations and System Integration for Johns Hopkins Health System and event Co-Chair. “They took it upon themselves to make a difference. By doing for others, they joined Dr. King as role models for equality. They empower individuals, strengthen barriers, and move us closer to Dr. King’s legacy for our nation.”
They honorees were: Adebola Giwa, M.D.; Jordan Grant; Dr. Erica Johnson, Vicki Migues-Jordan; Monique Levy; Celia Litovsky; Brittany Avin McKelvey; Kijon Renfroe; and Blossom Tewelde.
Giwa is a pediatrician at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. He raises funds for school supplies for the Loyola Early Learning Center, a Baltimore Head Start school. Grant is a student at Baltimore City College. The 16-year-old works with BMore Live, a community collective established to promote positive youth engagement. Dr. Johnson works at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center as its internal residency director. She and her colleagues formed Project Voice, an educational program designed to strengthen intergenerational ties and promote positive concepts related to aging.
Migues-Jordan is a Clinical Operations supervisor at Johns Hopkins Hospital. For the past 15 years, she had taken it upon herself to create more opportunities to give back to the community. Levy is a Patient Service Coordinator III at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She founded Led Ladies in 2012 to empower women to lead more stable lives.
Litovsky is a graduate student at The Johns Hopkins, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. She volunteers to help organizations that impact local prisons. McKelvey is a Graduate Student at Johns Hopkins University. She was 13 when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She dedicates time to supporting cancer patients and survivors. Renfroe is Project Associate with Johns Hopkins Healthcare, LLC. He has traveled to areas hit by catastrophes to help rebuild homes for families forced out by the disasters.
Tewelde is a medical student at Johns Hopkins University. She is a volunteer for the MERIT Health Leadership Academy, which mentors Baltimore City students interested in a medical career.
The free event also featured musical performances by Unified Voices of Johns Hopkins, and a reception. Kevin Sowers, President of Johns Hopkins Health System also spoke during the program.
“Today. we find ourselves in 2020, and ask ourselves the question, how far have we come’? said Sowers. “No matter how far we advance, there will also be new issues to conquer. It is up to us to educate the next generation of leaders. Light the fire of passion and compassion to overcome obstacles, so that as a society, we continue to move forwards always.”