For the 31st consecutive year, Cleveland Clinic hosted its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Celebration to honor the prolific Baptist preacher and social justice activist. The prerecorded program was broadcast on Friday, Jan. 13.
“This is not just a day of remembrance. This is an annual reminder that we all have a year-round obligation to fulfill the ideals of justice and equality set forth by Dr. King,” said Tom Mihaljevic, M.D., CEO and President of Cleveland Clinic, who emceed the program.
Christopher Young, Executive Vice President of Business Development, Strategy and Ventures at Microsoft Corp., was the keynote speaker. A Cleveland-area native, he is one of the most influential Black leaders in the technology industry. He leads Microsoft’s long-term growth strategy and serves on the board of directors for American Express and as a member of the Cybersecurity Advisory Committee for the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
The theme of this year’s community celebration is based on a quote from a 1959 speech Dr. King delivered in Montgomery, Ala.: “No greater tragedy can befall a people than to rest complacently on some past achievement. Noble yesterdays must always be challenges to more creative tomorrows.”
The virtual celebration also featured a musical performance by the male vocal ensemble Elégie, and remarks by Jacqui Robertson, Chief Diversity Officer at Cleveland Clinic. Interfaith reflections were provided by LaRese Purnell, co-owner and managing partner of CLE Consulting Firm; Rabbi Susan Stone, Temple Beth Shalom of Hudson; and Rev. Louie Hendon, executive pastor of Mega Church.
Tuesday, April 4, 2023 will mark the 55th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination. In the decades since his tragic death, his legacy of servant leadership continues to inspire hope and action to promote health, racial and social equity.
“As the state’s largest employer, we have an ethical obligation to use our resources for the good of the community,” said Dr. Mihaljevic. “Through partnerships with the state and local governments, community leaders, concerned citizens and other healthcare organizations, we are making a difference.”
These efforts include:
- Publicly supporting Cleveland City Council in its declaration that racism is a public health crisis in the city.
- Creating culturally specific services like a Hispanic clinic, an LGBTQ+ clinic and a Multicultural Lung Health Center.
- Working with Meijer and community partners to build a grocery store and apartments in the Fairfax neighborhood.
- Joining the City of Cleveland to announce a major contribution to Lead Safe Cleveland towards ensuring Cleveland homes are lead safe.
- Joining OneTen, a national coalition committed to creating one million jobs for Black Americans over the next 10 years. In its first year, Cleveland Clinic has already hired and advanced 900 Black caregivers.
- Collaborating with Unite Us, a program that directly connects patients with health and social organizations to reduce barriers to care.
To watch the program, visit ccf.org/2023mlkcelebration.