“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The 27th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Awards Program, co-sponsored by Goizueta Business School and Rollins School of Public Health, took place on January 24 as part of Emory’s King Week. The theme of this year’s awards program was “Standing Strong During Times of Challenge and Controversy.”
The keynote speech was given by Dr. Sheryl Herron, professor and vice chair of administrative affairs in the department of emergency medicine, assistant dean for medical education and student affairs on the Grady Campus, and associate director of education and training for the Injury Prevention Research Center at Emory University School of Medicine. Herron opened her remarks by noting that, although she is asked to speak often, giving this talk was especially impactful for her. “Yes, I have a lot of things going on. But most importantly,” she continued, “I would offer that I am part of the human race: the fabric of what we all hope our world could and should be.” Herron reflected on how Dr. King’s legacy intertwined with her and her family’s lives. Herron’s led her to Grady Memorial Hospital, just a short distance from Dr. King’s birth home and final resting place.
“Fighting for equity and inclusion when I arrived here has really become my clarion call,” Herron said.
Herron views Dr. King’s words as a continued call to action. “Where we stand in challenge and controversy is everyone’s business. We are honoring those who have stood and continue to stand — we support them, we applaud them. But I would ask: Where do you stand, and how do you do it? Because we don’t all have to stand the same, but we have to get up.
“Fifty years from now, those sitting in these seats — perhaps in this school, maybe a different rendition of it — will be asking the question of us: Where do we stand in times of conflict? Our honorees have stood today. Will you stand tomorrow?”
In addition to Herron’s remarks, an invocation was given by Isam Vaid, religious life advisor, Muslim, at Emory’s Office of Religious Life, and greeting remarks were given by Rollins School of Public Health Dean James W. Curran and Goizueta Dean Erika James.
AHANA A Cappella Group and Sister Sai each gave stirring musical performances inspired by Dr. King’s life and teachings. Sister Sai is the moniker of Saira Raza, who also works as a librarian at the Goizueta Business Library.
2019 MLK Award Recipients
Paula Tate, founder of Express Afterschool Program and creator of the Heart of South DeKalb Festival and HOSD Inc.