January 8, 1997
Media Contact: Gary Stephenson
Phone: (410) 955-5384

In what has become a joyous annual tradition, Johns Hopkins will celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. with tributes, music and community service awards. This year's event will take place Jan. 15 in Turner Auditorium from noon to 1:30 p.m., with Kweisi Mfume, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), as keynote speaker.

In keeping with this year's theme, "There Are No Limits," 10 employees, five from the Hospital and five from the University, will receive Hopkins' Martin Luther King Award for Community Service in recognition of their volunteer work with the community during 1996. They worked with the homeless, elderly and youth, Baltimore's Habitat for Humanity, those with HIV/AIDS, the emotionally and physically challenged, the Hispanic community and other groups. (A complete list of winners is attached.)

Presiding will be the event's original organizer, Levi Watkins Jr., M.D., associate dean of postdoctoral programs and professor of cardiac surgery. Unified Voices, a chorus of Hopkins employees and community members, will provide the music.

"It is especially fitting that the theme of this year's celebration is that there are no limits," says Watkins. "Martin Luther King proved that there are indeed no limits to all men and women who are dedicated to moving forward, and Kweisi Mfume continues that legacy."

Mfume, a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, assumed leadership of the NAACP last February after relinquishing his congressional seat in the U.S. Congress where he had, for ten years, represented Maryland's 7th Congressional District. He was born, reared and educated in Baltimore.

As a member of Congress, Mfume served on the Banking and Financial Services Committee and held the ranking Democratic seat on the General Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. He also served as a member of the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee, the Small Business Committee and the Subcommittee on Government Programs. In addition, Mfume served two years as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. During his last term in Congress, he was appointed to a leadership position with the House Democratic Caucus as vice chairman for communications. He presently serves on the Morgan State University Board of Regents and on the Advisory Board of the Schomburg Commission for the Preservation of Black Culture.

Among past speakers at the Hopkins event have been: Coretta King, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Rosa Parks, Harry Belafonte, Andrew Young and Stevie Wonder.


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