Cultivating a Beloved Community Mindset to Transform Unjust Systems

In celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. legacy, please join us as we recognize members of our community who serve those in need.

(Photo by William Lovelace/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) - Selma To Montgomery March

(Photo by William Lovelace/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) - Selma To Montgomery March


We are honored to welcome everyone here on behalf of UW Health Sciences and UW Medicine. 

Together, we are proud to support this annual celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. where we recognize not only one of the greatest figures in our nation’s history, but also the members of our own community who have dedicated themselves to lives of service.

We created this website to share our traditions with the broader community and those who cannot join us in person. Here you will find inspiring stories, powerful music and a sense of hope and community. 

We would like to thank the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Committee members who worked very hard to put together this dynamic and engaging website. The group is made up of staff and faculty from the six health sciences schools and UW Medicine. Thank you! 

Azita Emami, PhD, MSN, RN, FAAN,
Robert G. and Jean A. Reid Executive Dean

Paula L. Houston, EdD (she/her) 
Chief Equity Officer
Office of Healthcare Equity
Associate Vice President for Medical Affairs
Affiliate Professor, Department of Family Medicine

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) - Martin Luther King Jr. Memoria

MLK Planning Committee


Elaine Acacio, Renni Bispham, Kim Blakeley, Chantal Cayo, Priyanka Choudhury, Ada Cohen, Cher Espina, Priscilla Estrada, Tami Horner, Douglass Jackson, Rick Kincade, Khalfani Mwamba, Carson S. Nibe, Martine Pierre-Louis, Julie Reed, Juanita Ricks, Chanira Reang Sperry, Teri Ward, Kahlea Williams 

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) - Martin Luther King Jr. Memoria

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) - Martin Luther King Jr. Memoria

Voice and Participation

“The fight still isn’t people of color versus white. It’s the people versus the system built to keep us down. That’s the first line of the Constitution. And the system is manmade but is made of no man. Everyone, regardless of class, creed, culture, and ethnicity can fight the system and help to break it down.”   


(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for dcp) - Lizzo

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for dcp) - Lizzo

by Jourdan Imani Keith

What happened to the dream?

A bunch of us picked it up off the corner, you know, shattered glass, window storefronts — you know, we had to make something beautiful, like an argument for love, from the shards. Like stained glass — made everybody’s house out of what was broken.

I was looking for Jimmy. Has anyone seen Jimmy?

This was his corner. All he ever said was Amen.

We cut all the corners, too sharp, we shaved them like ice on a frosty cone. Got tired of a cold world. Jimmy — he’s inside. Still saying Amen and thank you. Now he says thank you.

Is this a dream? Cause I thought I saw Martin walking through my garden, collards the size of all tomorrows. I’ve been looking for someone hungry to feed. Where are all the doors — why aren’t there doors?

Everybody lives in glass houses, round as the world — no doors, nobody wants to steal — nobody rich steals and nobody poor.

Where are all the lights? Why would you get rid of the lights?

They went out one day. It was a good day, just stars that night and everyone too afraid of waking up alone to fight. We just huddled up on our New York porches, laid down in the street and watched the sky.               

Was it a protest? Sounds like a protest, sounds like the night we laid under the Macy star on 4th street, you know, cause of Eric Garner. Was it a protest?

Well, we locked arms beloved. We locked arms.

Protesters in Berlin Demonstrate Against
Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Protest Outside the Iranian Consulate in Istanbul

Nurses Union Protests Outside of the White House Calling for More Protection for Front-Line Workers

Birmingham Protest Organized by
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Protests Against Iran and Mahsa Amini’s Death
Continue in Turkey

Abortion-Rights Protestors Rally in Washington, DC,
on Independence Day

Atlanta Protest

Protest in Beijing Against China’s COVID-19 Measures

We Shall Overcome
Edelmar & Achil

We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome someday


Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome someday

We are not alone
We are not alone
We are not alone someday


Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We are not alone someday

We’ll walk hand in hand
We’ll walk hand in hand
We’ll walk hand in hand someday


Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We’ll walk hand in hand someday

We shall all be free
We shall all be free
We shall all be free today


Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall all be free today

As a talented pianist and healing artist based in the beautiful city of Seattle, Edelmar brings a sense of peace and tranquility to their performances. With over 20 years of experience playing a range of musical genres including jazz, gospel, contemporary worship and ambient music, Edelmar is known for their dynamic, soulful playing and captivating stage presence. In addition to their musical gifts, Edelmar is also trained in the healing arts and uses their skills to help bring relaxation and wellness to their audiences. Whether performing solo or collaborating with others, Edelmar is a truly inspiring and multi-faceted artist.  

Achil Obenza 
With a voice as sweet and tender as a warm embrace, Achil Obenza is a captivating soprano who has been singing since a young age. Trained in the classical tradition, Achil has a versatile range and a truly remarkable ability to express a wide range of emotions through their music. In addition to their classical training, Achil also has experience singing early music and chant, giving them a unique and diverse musical background. Their refreshing approach to music has made them a sought-after vocalist for a variety of musical projects. Whether performing solo or as part of an ensemble, Achil brings a sense of beauty and serenity to every performance, making them a truly cherished and inspiring artist. 

Photo by ©Bettmann via Getty Images

Radical Revolution

“The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.”   

— Ijeoma Oluo 

(Photo by Jim Spellman/Getty Images) - Ijeoma Oluo

(Photo by Jim Spellman/Getty Images) - Ijeoma Oluo

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and UW Health Sciences Community,

We gather to honor and celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King fought for racial equality and human rights and justice for those marginalized. If nothing else, I hope that the King holiday serves as a reminder of the need for us all to continue to work towards a future that is equitable and just.

Dr. King said, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” These times more than ever call on us to think beyond just what is good for us and to think about what is good for our communities and all of humanity. We should have learned from the pandemic that we are all interconnected. Whether we feel it or not, all of us who are a part of the University of Washington are privileged. That privilege comes with responsibility.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in April 1967, called for a radical revolution of values in this country. He called for a shift in our mindsets from “thing-oriented” to “person-oriented.” He went even deeper to say that it is not true compassion to see someone in need and not want to fix the systems that created their needs in the first place. Your profession requires you to be “people-oriented” and your work to address disparities in healthcare access, improve healthcare outcomes, and advance equity in healthcare practices is both just and compassionate. In today’s world, demanding excellence from others and being excellent ourselves are radical acts. Transforming unjust systems requires courage and radical acts of excellence.

As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said in Memphis one day before his assassination, “We’ve got some difficult days ahead.” Transforming legacy systems to advance equity for communities that have experienced systemic marginalization is complex and challenging work. It is precisely because the work is difficult that it must be done. As we honor and celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., let us commit to working together in service to underrepresented and underserved communities, and to creating healthcare systems, and a campus community that are accessible, welcoming, equitable, and just.


Rickey Hall
Vice President
University Diversity Officer
Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

“Ooohhh, Child”

About The African American Cultural Ensemble 

Inspiration comes from heritage, arts, and culture. Within the African American tradition, choirs have been significant vehicles for inspiration, comfort, and collective healing. Choirs have always played an important role in keeping Black heritage and Black ancestral stories alive through singing spirituals, freedom songs, and songs of hope. 

The Northwest African American Museum’s President & CEO LaNesha DeBardelaben envisioned and created the African American Cultural Ensemble (ACE) during the racial reckoning of 2020 and early 2021. The deep hurt, pain, and trauma moved NAAM, an institution that is committed to justice and equity. These recent times have collectively brought us all as a society pain, sorrow, fatigue, anger, and bewilderment. However, meeting these feelings with heart-stirring inspirational music can give way to a determined and forward-facing resolve to “never allow despair to have the last word.”

“Oh, Freedom”

Anti-Racism Protests Held in U.S. Cities Nationwide

Black Lives Matter Protests Take Place Across the UK

Protests Held in U.S. Cities Nationwide

Artists Take “End Racism Now” Message
to Downtown Fort Worth

Missouri Healthcare Workers Join Anti-Racism Protests

Community Service Award 

“Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning just to deal with. But if we ever hope to move past it, it can’t just be on people of color to deal with it. It’s up to all of us — Black, white, everyone — no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out.” 

— Michelle Obama

(Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Glamour) - Michelle Obama

(Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Glamour) - Michelle Obama

MLK Community Service Award 2023

This award honors individuals or groups who exemplify Martin Luther King, Jr.’s principles through:

Commitment to addressing community needs, particularly communities
of color and low income 

Development and implementation of significant programs to
improve the human condition

Outstanding efforts to protect and empower all individuals

Photo by Stephen Somerstein/Getty Images

Photo by Stephen Somerstein/Getty Images

School of Dentistry
Kimberly Espinoza, DDS, MPH 
Director of Dental Education in the Care of Persons
with Disabilities 

Dr. Kimberly Espinoza continuously volunteers her efforts to improve the quality and local and national access to oral healthcare for adults with developmental and other disabilities, many of whom cannot receive care elsewhere.

Dr. Espinoza is the director of the UW School of Dentistry Dental Education in the Care of Persons with Disabilities (DECOD program). She is president-elect of the American Board of Special Care Dentistry, past president of Special Care Advocates in Dentistry and an advisor for the UW student chapter of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry. She has trained students, residents and practitioners in the care of patients with disabilities for over 15 years.  

Dr. Kimberly Espinoza has a passion for supporting underserved populations and serves as the UW School of Dentistry curricular champion for the care of diverse patient populations. She has been described as an invaluable member of the UW School of Dentistry who “works in one of the more challenging settings, be it obtaining consent for care or delivering the care. Many challenges abound, but Espinoza takes it all in stride. She sets a high standard for care and caring and she has put together educational modules to help educate others in the finer points of working with people who have disabilities.” 

School of Medicine
Jason Deen, MD, Blackfeet

Dr. Jason Deen joined Seattle Children’s in 2014 as a pediatric cardiologist and pediatrician. He is associate professor of pediatrics and medicine at Seattle Children’s and UW Medical Center Montlake, respectively, director of the UW School of Medicine Indian Health Pathway, and vice chair for equity, diversity, and inclusion in the Department of Pediatrics at UW Medicine.

Realizing that medical students haven’t been training at tribal health centers as often — a consequence of the pandemic — Dr. Deen set forth to renew existing ties. Along with Millie Kennedy, JD, Tsimshian, tribal liaison for the Indian Health Pathway and UW Office of Healthcare Equity, Dr. Deen met with tribes, leading to new agreements with the Lummi Nation, the Navajo Nation in Tuba City, and the Asniya Program at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and to also revitalize existing agreements with Tribes and Native organizations.

Dr. Deen is an active participant in the Strong Heart Study, a large epidemiologic study of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors in reservation-bound American Indians. His main research interest is cardiovascular health disparities in American Indian communities and cardiovascular risk stratification in American Indian youth.

“It’s been well documented that if a patient is cared for by a doctor who looks like them, is from their culture, and understands them and their family that they are more likely to trust that person and follow their recommendations,” said Dr. Deen. “Unfortunately, for many American Indians and Alaska Natives, it’s difficult to find a doctor who understands their culture or background, in part, because there are so few Native physicians. Moreover, many people within these communities experience profound health inequities and face multiple systemic barriers to accessing the care they need.”

School of Nursing
David Reyes, DNP, MPH, RN
Interim Dean and Associate Professor at the UW Tacoma School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership  

Dr. David Reyes is an associate professor at the UW Tacoma School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership, where he serves as Interim Dean. His professional practice specialization is public health nursing. He worked for many years with Public Health – Seattle & King County attending to the health needs of underserved communities. In that role, while he continued his work in academia, his primary interests included addressing the root causes of health inequalities and disparities, building community capacity to improve health and population health systems. His research uses community-based participatory approaches that focus on equitable relationships with diverse communities to improve health outcomes.  

Dr. Reyes in motivated by is motivated by his dedication to community engagement and leadership, beyond his contributions as an academic and professional practitioner. He invests his time and energy into his community where he actively addresses food security as a founding member of the Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands in southeast Seattle. Per the organization’s website, the idea for this urban farm originated in 2009 with a group of community residents and activists who wished to increase access to affordable quality food sources in the Rainier Beach community and Southeast Seattle. The farm is a 10-acre site dedicated to organic food production and distribution, environmental education and wetland restoration. 

Dr. Reyes’ participation in and support of Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands is a shining example of his endeavors to promote population-level health with upstream, locally focused, community-rooted, sustainability-oriented and equity-prioritized interventions. He voluntarily co-chairs the organization’s board in partnership with Tilth Alliance as the farm’s operator on land owned by Seattle Parks and Recreation, a unique community, non-profit and government partnership model. He actively contributes his personal time to supporting various programming and ongoing operations, as well as community events. As an example, Dr. Reyes helped write a neighborhood matching grant through the City of Seattle to support the renovation of greenhouses for food production, including providing space to local farmers to engage in crop propagation, which was successfully funded.   

School of Pharmacy
King Yabut 
PhD Candidate, Department of Pharmaceutics 

King Yabut is a PhD candidate in the Department of Pharmaceutics in his sixth year. Yabut dedicates his personal and professional life to empowering underserved communities through mentorship and service to others. 

As a kind and patient mentor, Yabut has created spaces for young scientists to learn and explore their professional potential. As a community member, Yabut volunteers his time as a basketball coach for middle school students. An active and engaged member of the University of Washington community, Yabut serves as a graduate student advisory board member on the UW Office of Graduate Student Equity and Excellence (GSEE), participates in the Outreaching Grads Program, and contributes to student panels and recruitment events aimed at increasing the diversity of the student body.

Throughout his professional, academic and personal accomplishments, Yabut is highly regarded for his modesty, humility and unceasing values. He exemplifies the principles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., both in our community and far beyond.  

School of Public Health
Dr. Pamela Collins
Faculty in Dept of Global Health 

Dr. Pamela Collins is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Professor of Global Health at the University of Washington, where she is Executive Director of I-TECH and director of the UW Consortium of Global Health, a joint effort of the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Global Health. She is a psychiatrist and mixed methods researcher with 25 years of experience in global public health and global mental health research, education, training and capacity-building, and science policy leadership. Prior to her current role she directed the Office for Research on Disparities & Global Mental Health and the Office of Rural Mental Health Research at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) (USA). She has served the field in diverse leadership roles, most recently as a commissioner for the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development, a leader of the Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health initiative, co-lead of the NIMH-PEPFAR initiative on mental health and HIV, a member of the World Economic Forum’s Agenda Council on Mental Health, and the director of the RISING SUN initiative on suicide prevention in Arctic Indigenous communities.

Dr. Pamela Collin's research has focused on social stigma related to mental illness and its relationship to HIV risk among women of color with severe mental illness; the intersections of mental health with HIV prevention, care, and treatment; and the mental health needs of diverse groups in the US, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is currently the Principal Investigator of EQUIP Nairobi: a pilot implementation of Trauma-Focused CBT in Nairobi, Kenya, part of a more comprehensive effort to meet the mental health needs of children and adolescents in Nairobi.

School of Social Work
August Rivers, MSWC

August Rivers demonstrates commitment towards our School of Social Work BIPOC community through their multiple successful organizing efforts. Rivers has shown outstanding leadership in community empowerment for students of color, which deserves recognition for creating the intentional spaces needed for authentic connection.  

Before this year, BIPOC students within the school did not have BIPOC student-led spaces. All programs operated through the school, creating a dynamic that enforced the inherent hierarchical structure present within higher education. The student-led spaces generated by Rivers helped foster community areas driven by a flattened hierarchical model aimed at supporting students. This community-building effort allows us to separate from the need to perform within our roles as students and exist more authentically.  

While the spaces Rivers has implemented are not formally recognized, they are structured, functional and imperative towards student success. The spaces Rivers creates span across digital and in-person communities to increase access for all students. 

UW Medical Center
Sumona DasGupta, JD
Director of Pharmacy Business & Strategic Development 

Sumona DasGupta is an inspirational leader within the Department of Pharmacy and throughout the institution, exemplifying the highest principles of community service and volunteerism. As director of Pharmacy Business & Strategic Development, DasGupta provides critical leadership to the Pharmacy Department.

As a colleague, DasGupta provides an endless reservoir of kind and generous support. Some recent department-wide products of this environment include research evaluating the use of culturally inappropriate language in medical charts (“Red Man Syndrome” versus “Vancomycin Infusion Reaction”), processes for the reduction of bias in department hiring and promotion and the development of an affinity support system to promote resilience and retention. DasGupta’s work with Build 2 Lead allowed Pharmacy Department members to participate in this year’s POWER conference, where BIPOC students from middle and high schools in South King Country interacted and engaged with pharmacists to learn more about healthcare professions and services. Following the conference, DasGupta continued her work assisting Build 2 Lead on a significant grant proposal, which they were recently awarded for the establishment of a wellness center for BIPOC students.

DasGupta’s passion, energy and enthusiasm for lifting up communities in need is contagious and worth celebrating.   

Paul Carter III and Victor Moses

Harborview Medical Center is proud to recognize employees Paul Carter III and Victor Moses as the recipients of the 2023 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award. Each has exemplified the values of service and compassion. Both have demonstrated commitment to transforming unjust systems, whether within our institution or in communities we serve.

Paul is Harborview’s first ever Violence Intervention and Prevention Specialist. In this role, he meets with patients and families who have been injured by gun violence. As Paul himself has lived experience as a survivor of gun violence, patients see him as a peer support to help walk them through the days, weeks, months after injury. He works with partnering agencies in the community to connect patients and families to needed resources, with the goal of restoration and ending gun violence in our community.

Paul's dedication to community, specifically our communities of color disproportionately impacted by gun violence, empowerment of his patients, and his focus on nonviolence intervention embody the spirit and work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We are incredibly fortunate to have him as part of our Harborview team.

Victor Moses is passionate about his work with Harborview Medical Center’s Comprehensive Outpatient Rehab Therapy Program, where he is the manager. This clinic provides outpatient therapy services to people who have had neurological injuries. The clinic serves our mission population, including our vulnerable, low-income and under or uninsured patients. He has been instrumental in expanding exercise and recreation programs that focus on wellness and community integration for patients with spinal cord injuries. Physical therapy students are involved in providing supervised care to the patients in this program and as such, these patients have access to this care outside of the traditional insurance payor structure. This not only gives the students experience but provides more opportunity to assist patients with spinal cord injuries and others with their transition back into the community.

Victor brings an equity lens to his everyday work. He is a highly respected African American LGBTQAI+ leader and through his professional use of self has been a role model for young queer staff of color. Victor is also involved and has led conversations with the LGBTQAI+ Caucus at Harborview Medical Center, a member of the Harborview Medical Center EDI Council, and within Harborview Medical Center he has coached staff to interrupt implicit bias in hiring and interviewing processes. As a member of the Equity Lens Committee, he works with a multi-disciplinary team of colleagues to review Administrative Policies and Procedures.

In his free time, he's a French Horn section leader for the Rainbow City Performing Arts group, which supports multiple musical and performance opportunities for LGBTQAI+ folks, including marching, concert, swing and pep bands! He's also been on their Board of Directors which has created advanced educational opportunities for young queer musicians through their annual fundraising activities.

Harborview is proud of the commitment and dedication demonstrated by both Paul and Victor. We are pleased to benefit from their actions within our walls and in the community.

Valley Medical Center
Kawai Kaneali’i, RN
Community Health and Wellness Advocate  

Kawai Kaneali’i, RN, received her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree from Post University in March 2022, with a focus on education. That same month, she was accepted into their Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, specializing in professional nurse leadership. She is expected to graduate in the Fall of 2024.  

Kaneali’i has been afforded many opportunities to grow and flourish in her time at Valley Medical Center, beginning as a nurse resident in labor and delivery in March 2018. In January 2020, she accepted a role as nurse educator of the Women’s Services department and began teaching the very same residency she had been enrolled in only two years before. In that time, her passion for patient and staff education and dedication to quality improvement projects also led her to become a finalist in the 2019 Washington State Nurse of the Year awards under the category of Rising Star. 

In April 2021, she was offered a position as the hospital’s community health and wellness advocate, striving to support the underserved populations within South King County. She focuses on building relationships that provide access to hard-to-reach populations, positively impacting healthcare inequity gaps within the community and finding diverse and inclusive ways to educate patients and their families on important health-related topics.

As a colleague, Kawai brings her amazing smile and heart to her work every day. Her ability to build effective relationships and worthwhile connections with Valley staff members and providers, representatives from local community organizations, patients, and our neighbors have been huge contributors to her success in her role. Not only does she bring a strong and demonstrated nursing background to her work but, as a member of the AAPI community, she also brings her personal experience, empathy and understanding to all that she does. She is not only the responsible and efficient coworker that everybody wants, but she is a caring friend to many. She is constantly staying curious, growing, teaching and we love to listen to her amazing singing voice that we can hear throughout the office. Valley is so fortunate to work alongside Kawai. 

UW Medicine Primary Care
Ale’ Jenkins
Panel Navigator 

Ale’ Jenkins dedicates her time to addressing health disparities in breast cancer screening for Black and African American women in South King County. Her helpful, encouraging and hard-working attitude has had a positive impact on her clinic and the patients they serve.  

Jenkins has worked in the medical field for over 6 years and has been working with UW Medicine for almost a year. She enjoys working at UW Medicine because of her job title as a panel navigator, and her ability to do outreach to patients who need it the most. Jenkins also loves hosting local events within the community and educating people about resources. Her daughter is her motivation for everything that she does in life and any goal that she achieves. Outside of work, Jenkins enjoys fun activities with her daughter, such as going to an arcade, bowling, movies or just spending time with family.  

 Jenkins is a strong believer in actions speaking louder than words and feels that the position gives her the ability to be a role model and utilize her skills as a leader. 


Distinguished Service Award

“Empathy is not simply a matter of trying to imagine what others are going through, but having the will to muster enough courage to do something about it. In a way, empathy is predicated upon hope.”  

— Dr. Cornel West