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Wes Moore serves as keynote at Northwell’s 48th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial celebration


For the 48th consecutive year, employees of Northwell Health gathered together to honor the teachings and visions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

During his opening remarks, Northwell President & CEO Michael J. Dowling referred to Dr. King as "a visionary" and encouraged everyone in the audience and those watching remotely to "reflect on what we do today, and tomorrow, and all future tomorrows" in a communal effort to effect positive change.

This year's keynote speaker was Wes Moore, best-selling author, decorated Army combat veteran, youth advocate and CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, one of the largest foundations dedicated to alleviating poverty. His latest book, "The Other Wes Moore," tells the story of how educational opportunities, community support and other factors helped him transcend the fate of a man with the same name who lived just blocks away and took a tragically different path to prison.

Mr. Moore is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Valley Forge Academy and Johns Hopkins University. He was selected as a Rhodes Scholar, earning a MLitt in International Relations and Affairs at Oxford University. A combat-decorated Army Captain, Mr. Moore served for ten years, including a tour of duty in Afghanistan as a paratrooper in the elite 82nd Airborne division. He later served as a White House fellow and special assistant to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

During his stirring keynote presentation, Mr. Moore described a childhood of emotional upheaval and poverty, and the key people in his life who helped him understand that all people have a responsibility to help each other. Or, as he said, "to let people know that they're not alone."

After reminding his audience of Northwell staff members that at the time of Dr. King's death, fully 63 percent of Americans disapproved of his work, Mr. Moore said: "The truth about Dr. King is that he had no patience for just words. He wanted to be remembered for his work. Being popular didn't matter to him … being just did."

When asked how he thought Dr. King would react to current national events, Mr. Moore responded: "We have to remember that we are a country of immigrants. Part of the power and strength of this nation is that we are made up of people from all walks of life. A common misconception about Dr. King is that he only advocated for the rights of one particular race. That couldn't be further from the truth. Dr. King wanted us to embrace all of humanity. That's what he fought for, and that's how we should remember him."

Providing musical support during the ceremony was the Hempstead Select Chorale, a group of talented singers who have already won two International Choral Competitions. When asked about her understanding of the work of Dr. King, one member of the chorale said: "We've come a long way towards equality to get where we are today, but it's clear we have a long way to go."

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About Northwell Health
Northwell Health is New York State's largest health care provider and private employer, with 23 hospitals, more than 600 outpatient facilities and nearly 15,000 affiliated physicians. We care for over two million people annually in the New York metro area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 66,000 employees – 15,000-plus nurses and 4,000 employed doctors, including members of Northwell Health Physician Partners – are working to change health care for the better. We're making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit

Michelle Pinto
[email protected]

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