Skip to main content

From the EDI Director: 2021 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Treava Hopkins-Laboy

Dear NIH,

On Monday, January 18, 2021, The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) pays homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This year marks the 26th anniversary of MLK's day of service observance. As we acknowledge his contributions to Black history and American history, I can't help but wonder, what advice and words of wisdom would Dr. King give us in these times? What would he motivate us to do on this holiday — and every day? Indeed, he would expect us to use this time to improve the lives of others.

Dr. King's legacy has significantly impacted the scientific and biomedical field through the Civil Rights Movement. On March 25, 1966, during a press conference in Chicago in connection with an annual meeting of the Medical Committee for Human Rights, Dr. King said, "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhuman." The next month, Dr. King's "direct action campaign" against Chicago hospitals that failed to provide equal treatment to minorities led to 220 discrimination complaints submitted to the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) (HEW became the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on May 4, 1980). HEW subsequently announced their preparation to stop funds to hospitals to enforce compliance with Title VI of the 1965 Civil Rights Act.

I encourage you to learn more about Dr. King's strides for justice in health care by visiting EDI's Website, Twitter, Instagram, and Blog pages, as we highlight and remember Dr. King's legacy.

We welcome you to allow Monday's holiday to be an opportunity to remember and reaffirm the values Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of, and may they strengthen the moral framework in our personal lives and our nation.


Treava Hopkins-Laboy
Acting Director

Do you have a story idea for us? Do you want to submit a guest blog? If it's about equity, diversity, or inclusion, please submit to

For news, updates, and videos, follow or subscribe to EDI on: Twitter, Instagram, Blog, YouTube.