FEB. 9, 2006 | Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a vision of equality of opportunity and political and economic justice for all people, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Marion Humphrey said at a University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) tribute to the civil rights leader.
“You are commemorating one of the people who certainly was heroic in the struggle for certain basic rights for African Americans and for all people,” Humphrey said of the American civil rights leader who was assassinated in 1968.
Humphrey, also a pastor and the keynote speaker at the Jan. 30 campus event, grew up in
He noted that today his son and the son of College of Health Related Professions Dean Ronald H. Winters, Ph.D., who introduced Humphrey at the commemoration, are now seniors at once-segregated
African Americans have attained prominent positions in American society, such as Condoleezza Rice becoming secretary of state; and some are serving as CEOs of corporate giants such as American Express and Merrill Lynch, Humphrey said, adding that in
“And you have people such as Oprah Winfrey and Sheila Johnson (cofounder of BET) who are billionaires in our society,” Humphrey said.
“It is time to give recognition to all of these achievements, and I think Martin Luther King would want that done today, but it’s also a time to renew interest in ridding society of those tendencies to discriminate that are too subtle and too coy to be documented,” Humphrey said. “For these often exist in the heart and can only be changed in the heart. This is also a time to remain vigilant in pursuit of policies to guarantee fair opportunities and full participation for all people.”
Reece, who gave opening remarks at the commemoration sponsored by the Chancellor’s Diversity Committee, also said that despite tremendous advancements in the past five decades, further progress in our diverse culture will require continued effort by all.
“This acknowledgement paves the way to the theme of this year’s commemoration: From Dream to Reality, a Work in Progress,” Reece said.
UAMS, through its mission to serve all of
“We are poised to become a driving force in this quest to make Dr. King’s dream a reality,” he said. “As he once said, ‘everybody can be great because everybody can serve.’ The medical community has the distinct honor of helping fulfill this dream of service.”
Reece noted that UAMS programs reach throughout the state and aim to serve all Arkansans, including the poorest citizens. UAMS’ Head Start program, for example, is one of just three nationally run by a medical school.
Reece urged the 150 faculty, students and other guests attending the commemoration to spread the message of service to advance King’s dream.
“Through various acts of service we can meet community needs, promote equality, promote peace and even promote opportunity and prosperity for all,” he said.