Black History Month
Cornelius L. Hopper, MD was Honored
The Church by the Side of the Road is proud to spotlight Dr. Cornelius L. Hopper, a member of the church for over 35 years. Dr. Hopper and his wife Barbara, along with several members of The Church by the Side of the Road, attended the Samuel Merritt University's Third Annual Dr. Cornelius Hopper Diversity Excellence Award Ceremony in celebration of Black History Month. The award ceremony is designed to inspire individuals and groups in the Samuel Merritt University community to engage in activities that will make the University a place where all people can learn and grow. SMU faculty, staff and students are eligible, and may be nominated for significant achievement in one or all of five focus areas: leadership, campus climate, recruitment of underrepresented students and faculty, teaching and learning, or other initiatives that advance diversity across or beyond the university. The award is named for and honors Dr. Cornelius L. Hopper, who joined the Samuel Merritt University Board in 1997 and served as its chair from 2000 to 2011. Dr. Hopper has been dedicated to addressing racial disparities in the nation’s healthcare system for more than 40 years.
Mohammad J. Deen, graduate student, Nurse Anesthesia Program, born in Chicago to a Palestinian family, has spent recent years in war-torn areas of the Middle East. In April, Deen gave up a nursing job to travel to Greece, where he worked for almost three months in a Syrian refugee camp near the Macedonia border. He helped run a nighttime clinic with other volunteers out of two ambulances in a camp located at a former gas station. Through his humanitarian efforts, he has received worldwide attention and acclaim for his work. In April, Mr. Deen will present the story of his journey to an international audience at TEDxParis.
The three other students, Carmen Craven, RN ELMSN-FN, Nga Dwork, RN Online FNP and Shante Myers, ELMSN-CM are among 1,000 students from 80 countries chosen to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University at UC Berkeley in April. Craven, Dwork, and Myers — graduate nursing students on SMU’s Sacramento Campus — won admission to the Clinton Global Initiative University for their plan to address our the shortage of culturally diverse healthcare professionals and decrease the readiness gap that exists for lower-income students. They also helped to recruit more students of color to Samuel Merritt and worked with them to help improve their study habits and held them accountable to them for their grades. All four received plaques and won a monetary award. Their mantra is that everyone can do something to make world a more equitable community.
The highlight of the evening was an incredible speaker, the Rev Traci Blackmon. Rev. Blackmon, who holds a degree in nursing, is the Acting Executive Minister of Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ and the Senior Pastor of Christ The King United Church of Christ in Florissant, MO. It was her communal leadership and work in the aftermath of the killing of Michael Brown, Jr, in Ferguson, MO which gained her both national and international recognition and audiences from the White House to the Carter Center to the Vatican. She was so inspiring ... her story, her ordained and divine journey was so timely and God ordered and directed. Just one week prior, she spoke in Modesto, California where eight Catholic bishops who were selected by the Pope to hear her presentation on social justice and the church.