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[January 14, 2013]

Reverend Al Sharpton to Receive Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Award

The Reverend Al Sharpton will receive SUNY Downstate Medical Center's Second Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Award on Thursday, January 24, 2013, at 9:00 a.m., in a ceremony in the Alumni Auditorium.
The award, sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, recognizes individuals who have an exemplary record of service in government, business, or education, and who have a distinguished record in molding consensus to shape solutions to important societal challenges.
As one of the nation's most renowned civil rights leaders, Reverend Sharpton has been praised by President Barack Obama as "the voice of the voiceless and a champion for the downtrodden." As president and founder of the National Action Network, one of the nation's most respected civil rights organizations, he has influenced national legislation on voting rights, gun control, federal sentencing guidelines, privacy, education, employment, and immigration.
In addition, from his background as a national civil rights activist, Reverend Sharpton has built a national political coalition.  He has helped to open the door for Americans, regardless of race, religion, gender, or national origin, to run for political office. In 1978 he was a Democratic candidate for the New York State Senate. In 1992 and 1994, Reverend Sharpton was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate from New York, and in 2004 he was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the United States presidency.

Reverend Sharpton is currently the only African-American host of an evening talk show. The program, "PoliticsNation" on MSNBC, analyses the top political and social news of the day featuring the country's leading news makers. Reverend Sharpton also hosts a nationally syndicated radio program.


SUNY Downstate Medical Center, founded in 1860, was the first medical school in the United States to bring teaching out of the lecture hall and to the patient’s bedside. A center of innovation and excellence in research and clinical service delivery, SUNY Downstate Medical Center comprises a College of Medicine, Colleges of Nursing and Health Related Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and an Advanced Biotechnology Park and Biotechnology Incubator.

SUNY Downstate ranks eighth nationally in the number of alumni who are on the faculty of American medical schools. More physicians practicing in New York City have graduated from SUNY Downstate than from any other medical school.