UPLIFTING: McElroy’s powerful voice fills the East Garden Room
Each January, the MGH takes time to honor the life of legendary civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday is recognized and celebrated across the country.
This year’s tribute, sponsored by the Association of Multicultural Members of Partners (AMMP) and the Multicultural Affairs Office (MAO), took place Jan. 24 in the East Garden Room. Dianne Austin, AMMP chair and workplace diversity program manager, welcomed guests, and Rabbi Ben Lanckton, of the MGH Chaplaincy, led an opening prayer. “Continue to pray for the strength to finish the journey to ‘love our neighbors as ourselves,’ ” said Lanckton.
The event also included remarks from Jeff Davis, senior vice president of Human Resources, and MGH President Peter L. Slavin, MD. “It’s been nearly 46 years since Dr. King’s untimely death. Although I was only 11 years old at the time, I will never forget that moment,” said Slavin. “This is a wonderful opportunity to rekindle all of our memories of Dr. King and rededicate ourselves to his teachings and legacy.”
Carlyene Prince-Erickson, director of MGH Employee Education and Leadership Development, recognized three of Partners’ participants in the Greater Boston YMCA Achievers Program – Nicte Mejia, MD, a physician in the MGH Neurology Department; Esther Maycock-Thorne, manager of MGH Parking and Commuter Services; and Yarixa Vargas, a food services supervisor at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. Prince-Erickson said the women are doing their part to keep King’s memory alive. “This gives us an opportunity to recognize our own employees for their extraordinary contributions to their communities.”
Berklee College of Music’s Jubilee Spirit Ensemble culminated the event with a rich repertoire of spiritual songs, led by Grammy-nominated singer Donna McElroy, a professor at Berklee.
“Many people aren’t aware that there is a deeper meaning behind this genre of music dating back to slavery,” said Austin. “Spiritual songs were actually coded messages between the slaves – about things that were about to happen or about how the slaves were feeling in a given moment. I loved how Donna was able to share a piece of this history with every song.”
Read more articles from the 01/31/14 Hotline issue.