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Beacon associates reflect on life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Inspired by Dr. King, then and now

I do not remember the first time I heard Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech, but I do remember the first time I really read and absorbed his message.

I was inspired and motivated to be a better person, regardless of my environment and nationality.

I choose to be an example of Dr. Martin Luther King every day, by looking for someone to love, support, encourage and give an avenue of positivity, no matter their nationality or race.

Kevin Slaughter
South Bend Memorial Hospital  Security/Police


What Dr. King means to me…

Where we’ve been, and where I’m going.

I’m so grateful, so appreciative of our Legends that paved the way for me.

I’m so grateful God made me who I am and I will continue to grow and mature in Jesus Christ every day. 

Charlene Highsmith-Bennett
Office Assistant

Speaking up against injustices

One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King is from a 1959 speech:

“Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a better person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.” 

I’ve always seen Dr. King as more than an integral force within the Civil Rights movement. Certainly, he was a huge historical figure to me; he was probably the first person I ever learned about in the context of Black history, and I can’t think of a time when I wasn’t somewhat familiar with his “I Have a Dream” speech. 

However, I see Dr. King as a moral compass I try to emulate. I’ve tried to make my career as a physician a ‘career of humanity’ and speak up against the injustices that can come with the medical ‘system’. I think he was able to paint a broad brushstroke with his search for equal rights; he worked for economic equity, racial equity, and was vehemently anti-war. I mean, without his efforts, I don’t know if I would have had the same opportunities that I have had in my life. However, my life goal is to put his words to action: to be ‘better’ and make the world ‘better’ as a result.

Dr. Marion Mahone
Faculty Hospitalist
Memorial Family Residency

Still climbing that mountain

I think the words of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech are as applicable today as they were in 1963. While yes, in many ways progress has been made, the events of late spring and summer 2020 have highlighted the fact that not enough progress has been made.

Celebrating the commemoration this year feels… heavy.

How can we truly celebrate when people are still being judged because of the color of their skin?

How can we truly celebrate when so many people in this country do not believe that “all men are created equal?”

How can we truly celebrate when black people are still “battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality?”

Dr. King encouraged individuals not to wallow in the valley of despair. While I try not to wallow, we are still very much in a valley, facing a mountain of progress we have yet to accomplish in this country. We still have to “work together…struggle together…stand up for freedom together” in order to climb that mountain.

At the top of that mountain maybe his dream will finally be realized.

LeAnne Young
Trauma Program Director
Beacon Trauma Services

What if…

Have you ever wondered what would have happened if Dr. King never delivered his historic, “I Have a Dream” speech. What if August 28, 1963 did not awaken the hearts of so many all across this nation. What if a voice of hatred, violence and intolerance filled the air, where would we be as a nation.

Vincent Henderson M.D.
President Beacon Medical Group

Where there is love, there is hope

As we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., I reflect on not just the man but on the service he rendered and the life he led.

Not only did he encourage people to respect and love each other, but he lived his message. So for me, now 92 years after his birth and nearly 53 years after his death, his life’s message still lives on. Dr. King’s message was of Peace, Love and Respect for one another regardless of your race, age, sexuality, economic status, education, religion or even politics.

I was only 13 years old, soon to be 14 when he was assassinated, and was not that informed on who and what Dr. King was all about at that age. It was not until I got older that I began to understand and appreciate his life’s philosophy of Peace, Love and Respect. Even in the mist of the turbulent times of the sixties, when Black Americans were being brutalized and in some cases murdered just because of the color of their skin (sound familiar), he continued to advocate for non-violence and peaceful protest. He literally gave his life for what he believed in and because of that his life’s message continues to live on and resonate in the lives of many, even today. According to Dr. King, “Hate cannot drive out Hate, only Love can do that.”

Lynn Coleman and his wife, Myrtie, pose with the late Coretta Scott King.

In this stage of my life, I’ve come to realize there is a strong correlation between Dr. King’s life and his message of Peace and Love and the message that I have tried to share through our logo of LTIA, “Let’s Turn It Around.”

LTIA is the image of a backwards heart that is broken. If we turn that image AROUND, it forms a HEART. The HEART is a symbol of LOVE and where there is LOVE there is HOPE. The mission of our message is to promote Peace and Love among all members of the human race.

Per Dr. King, “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

Lynn Coleman
Community Trauma Liaison
Memorial Hospital

Grounded in heart-centered service

“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”  — Martin Luther King Jr.

I often hear and read phrases like, “anybody can be a leader,” or “we are all leaders,” and I believe there to be some truth to this, if this is what we choose or desire. I can honestly say that I haven’t, to this point in my journey, ever considered myself a leader or even aspired to be one in the formal sense of the word, or for the sake of simply holding a leadership title. And perhaps, I may not ever. (Let me be very clear hear though, that doesn’t mean that I will decline a leadership role if the right one is offered.)

What I do aspire, in all of my actions and interactions, is in the context of service and dignity; serving those who are receptive to my offerings while maintaining and honoring my self-dignity and the dignity of those that I serve. As this relates to Dr. King, his passion, purpose and mission were irrefutably, transparently and fundamentally grounded in heart-centered service. And, in the context of our new mission, what resonates most with me is “connect with heart”. I believe that heart-centered connection is the initiation of and catalyst to the delivery of outstanding care and the inspiration of health for those that we serve and for ourselves. This is just one of the myriad ways that the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has impacted me.

Kimberlie Warren, Ph.D.
Organizational Development and Effectiveness Facilitator
Certified Professional Coach

A constant reminder

Martin Luther King is the definition of dedication hard work and sacrifice. He is a constant reminder to fight for what’s right.

The world would be a better place if his dream was a reality.

There are still roads to cross and mountains to climb, but we must keep seeking love and peace. Thank you, Dr. King, for being a pioneer. You are appreciated. 

Julius Barnam
Critical Care Center
Elkhart General Hospital


About Heidi Prescott-Wieneke