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Spring 2009 Table of Contents

“Not the End of the Struggle, but an Opening”

Paul Farmer draws record crowd to MLK Day remarks

| From Commonwealth | By Jessica Ullian

Click on the slide show above to learn about Paul Farmer’s work in Haiti.

With a record-breaking crowd before him and President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration still ahead, Paul Farmer celebrated the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. (GRS’55, Hon.’59) on January 19, at Boston University’s annual commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day.

“If Martin Luther King were here with us today in the flesh, as he is in spirit, he would surely be pleased,” said Farmer, the founder of the international aid organization Partners in Health, referring to the election of the nation’s first black president. “But he would not regard this momentous event as the end of the struggle, but as an opening, a space, a chance in which the larger social justice agenda might be pursued.”

Farmer, a medical anthropologist and a physician, was the keynote speaker at this year’s BU event, and he drew a crowd that filled the George Sherman Union’s Metcalf Hall to capacity.

The theme of the 2009 celebration was The Drum Major Instinct, based on King’s sermon of the same name. In it, King called on his congregation to find the instinct that makes us “all want to be important, to surpass others, to achieve distinction, to lead the parade” and use it to be a leader in love, in moral excellence, and in generosity.

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