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Race relations expert speaks at FIUs MLK breakfast

admin | 1/18/2012, 7:30 a.m.

Renowned expert on race relations expert, Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, was the featured speaker at the 21st Annual Breakfast to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., hosted by Florida International Universitys (FIU) Office of Multicultural Programs and Services on Friday, Jan. 13th. From 1965 to 1967, Poussaint acted as the southern field director of the Medical Committee for Human Rights in Jackson, Mississippi, where he provided medical care to civil rights workers while helping to desegregate hospitals and health facilities throughout the South. His lecture focused on the disparities of care that minorities, particularly Blacks, face when they seek medical care. Blayne Stone Jr., a 25-year old graduate student at FIU, says he enjoyed the informative speech. Basically, it was really an eye opener, he said. Previously, he had only known about such injustices through third hand accounts, Stone admitted. And while the young graduate student says he remains appalled by the current state of health care services, he became optimistic when reminded of the reason for the breakfast celebrating the legacy of King. From what Ive seen, he never showed any fear, Stone said. [Dr. King] became the change that he wanted to see in the world. Twenty-seven year old Priscilla Williams said she was drawn to the [ideals] of King because of her own multicultural heritage. I think he was a great man and he encourages me to be the proud of the person that I am, she said. The breakfast was just one of a series of events that took place during the annual two-week long celebration to honor the civil rights ministers life and work. Activities included: an art exhibit; an MLK Day of Service to beautify Goulds Park in Cutler Bay; a youth forum; and a peace walk. The festivities drew an estimated 3,000 total participants. By Kaila Heardkheard@miamitimesonline.com [gallery link="file" orderby="title"] Miami Times photos/Levi A. Matthews