Demonstrating an act of solidarity across the OHSU community statewide, a reflective group of faculty, students and staff convened on Marquam Hill campus today – in person and virtually – to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“There is still work to be done,” said Brian Gibbs, Ph.D., M.P.A., as he addressed the crowd. “I can’t imagine a better time to join together and celebrate Dr. King’s legacy and state that we remain rock-solid in our commitment to eliminate acts of hatred and bigotry on our campus.” Gibbs is vice president of OHSU Equity and Inclusion and an associate professor in the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health.
Throughout the tribute, which often erupted in laughter and applause, OHSU employees took the stage to honor Dr. King, including, Joe Robertson M.D., M.B.A., president; Kendra Crawford, R.N., nurse manager; Leslie Garcia, M.P.A., assistant chief diversity officer and assistant vice provost; and John Hunter, M.D., interim dean, School of Medicine.
Guest speaker J.W. Matt Hennessee, pastor of the Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church of Portland, inspired the audience with words of empowerment for all races, ages, genders and orientations.
“It is important that we don’t see him [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] as a radical figure, or his holiday as a black holiday,” Hennesse said. “Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a holiday that should be celebrated by every human being. It is OUR holiday.”
A community of healers, OHSU has embraced the opportunity to change the current narrative and promote healing and hope in a time of fear and uncertainty. Just as Dr. King did, OHSU believes in respect for all and stands firm in its commitment to equity and inclusion.
“It is not about what somebody else is going to do,” Hennesse continued. “It’s about what you and me will do ourselves. If you don’t do it, no one else will.”
Click here to watch footage from the event.