Community

Spectrum Health Honors Legacy of MLK Jr.

Invites community to join in acts of service, advocacy and learning

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Jan. 15, 2021 – This Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Spectrum Health affirms its commitment to eliminating systemic racism and achieving health equity in the communities it serves, by engaging in intentional conversation with team and community members, elevating the voices of those who marched with Dr. King, and encouraging team members to volunteer virtually.

“Every day, our team members see firsthand the structural barriers that prevent many people of color from achieving good health and a healthy lifestyle,” said Spectrum Health President & CEO Tina Freese Decker. “By designating Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a paid holiday, Spectrum Health is making space for our team members to further Dr. King’s legacy of removing those barriers—through education, conversation, advocacy and acts of service.”

Since 2013, Spectrum Health has organized volunteer opportunities as a way for team members to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day and to answer Dr. King’s call for justice and equality. In lieu of in-person volunteering due to the pandemic this year, Spectrum Health is encouraging its team members and others to spend time learning about the American civil rights movement.

To help community members learn more about Dr. King’s local impact, Spectrum Health has produced a series of video stories about Michigan residents who met or marched with Martin Luther King Jr. The videos are available here. Spectrum Health is also encouraging its team members to read a book about diversity to a child, volunteer virtually, and explore other resources available to our community, such as the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University.

In addition, Spectrum Health is sponsoring:

  • Distribution of food baskets in Benton Harbor, in partnership with Feeding America
  • In-person and virtual programming about MLK Jr.’s life and the civil rights movement at the Holland Museum
  • Donation of hand sanitizers to community partners through Priority Health
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week Blood Drive, in partnership with Versiti Blood Center of Michigan. The blood drive will take place at:

Community members are encouraged to take part in the blood drive throughout the week of Jan. 18 at a location convenient for them.

“Our mission, vision and values call us to the work of addressing systemic racism and taking those actions, today and every day, that make our workplaces and communities more just, inclusive and welcoming,” said Freese Decker. “As Dr. King himself said, ‘Human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. Human progress comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals.’”

 

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Spectrum Health System, a not-for-profit, integrated health system, is committed to improving the health and wellness of our communities. We live our mission every day with 31,000 compassionate professionals, 4,600 medical staff experts, 3,300 committed volunteers and a health plan with more than 1 million members. Our talented physicians and caregivers are privileged to offer a full continuum of care and wellness services to our communities through 14 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, 150 ambulatory sites and telehealth offerings. We pursue health care solutions for today and tomorrow that diversify our offerings. Locally-governed and based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, our health system provided $550 million in community benefit in calendar year 2019. Thanks to the generosity of our communities, we received $37 million in philanthropy to support research, academics, innovation and clinical care. Spectrum Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM.

Contact:
Bruce Rossman
Media Relations
Office: 616.391.3706
Mobile: 616.443.3242
Email: bruce.rossman@spectrumhealth.org

Beth Cranson
Media Relations
Office: 616.391.2603
Mobile: 616.540.0813
Email: elizabeth.cranson@spectrumhealth.org