EDITORS’ NOTE: This year Einstein joined with organizations nationwide in taking part in a day of service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Observed on the third Monday each year by the federal government, the day of service was established to honor Dr. King’s legacy and is observed as a “day on, not a day off.” Led by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Einstein coordinated volunteer opportunities during the week of January 18 where students, faculty, and staff could assist local communities and organizations. Volunteer projects ranged from helping students online with science projects to distributing food and PPE in person.
What follows are reflections from Einstein community members about what taking part in the day of service meant to them along with photos taken during some of the events.
Nerys Benfield, M.D., senior associate dean of diversity & inclusion
“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. worked for social justice and to strengthen communities. He had a vision for a “Beloved Community” where all people can live free of poverty and racism. He believed that, “Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve.”
Congress established MLK Day as a national day of service in 1994 with the organization AmeriCorps leading this effort. Albert Einstein College of Medicine recognized the great need for shared community following the devastating impact of COVID-19. Rather than having just one day of service, Einstein offered in-person and virtual service opportunities throughout the entire week and human resources allowed two hours of paid time off to encourage faculty and staff to serve. Following the week of service, the office of diversity and inclusion hosted a reflection for volunteers to discuss Dr. King’s legacy and volunteers’ service experiences.
Our hope is that students, faculty, and staff continue to serve the community throughout the year and we look forward to making the Einstein MLK Service Challenge an annual opportunity. “
Reanna Doña , Einstein M.D./Ph.D. candidate
“The connection between Dr. King’s legacy as a leader of all people while moving and working towards his vision of a diverse America in which all people may benefit equally and through my service to my community can be seen as the simple parallel of working unselfishly for the betterment of others. I can only hope to have the smallest fraction of impact on my community in a positive manner, but know that it is absolutely imperative to continue Dr. King’s legacy; as we fight for justice for all, the leveling of the playing field, equality in pay and education and in battling against racism and bigotry.
Swati Chandhoke, resident physician, department of pediatrics, Children’s Hospital at Montefiore
“This (day of service) reminds us to give back to our communities, to strive to do better for our community. This year, with a heightened awareness of racial inequality and a disproportionate amount of people in our communities suffering from the lasting effects of COVID 19, it is all of our responsibility to find ways to help close that gap with equitable resources for the people we serve every day.”
Linda Jelicks, Ph.D., animal program compliance coordinator,
“It is important to honor Dr. King’s legacy as a man who valued service to others by continuing the good work of helping those who are in need. It is also important to provide a good example of loving care for our fellow human beings especially those in our community.”
For more information about the MLK Day of Service at Einstein, please see https://einsteinmed.org/diversity/service-challenge