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Press Releases

NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens’ Black History Month Celebration Dazzles Crowd

Event Featured Emmy Award-Winning Performing Artist Obba Babatunde, This Year's Recipient of the African-American Achiever Award

Mar 05, 2019

Queens, NY

NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens recently hosted its annual Black History Month celebration in the main hospital auditorium. This yearly event is an opportunity for the hospital to recognize the accomplishments of African-Americans in public life whose hard work, commitment, compassion, and determination serve as an inspiration to all people who value the American ideals of freedom and democracy. This year’s theme for Black History Month was “Black Migrations.”

The highpoint of the event was a keynote presentation by Obba Babatunde, the renowned actor, singer, dancer, director, writer and producer. Born and raised in Jamaica, Queens, Mr. Babatunde is the winner of an Emmy and NAACP Image Award and has appeared in more than 17 stage productions, 33 films, more than 60 made-for-television movies, and can currently be seen in four prime-time series. Mr. Babatunde electrified the crowd with a motivational speech that emphasized the importance of personal responsibility and promoted a confident, can-do spirit in order to achieve personal goals.

Following his address, Obba Babatunde was presented with this year’s African-American Achiever Award, an annual recognition given by NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens that celebrates the contributions of an individual who is positively impacting the world around them by making a meaningful difference in the lives of others. As a Global Ambassador for the organization Get Empowered!, Mr. Babatunde is helping to uplift, empower and support children and adults of all ages and backgrounds by inspiring them to be their best selves.

Other highlights included welcoming remarks by NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens CEO Chris Roker; an inspiring speech by Ryan Harris, Chief Human Resources Officer for MetroPlusHealth Health Plan, one of the event’s sponsors; a slideshow presented by Dr. Jean-Bernard Poulard, Deputy Medical Director, NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens and one of its top surgeons, that discussed his family’s migration from Haiti to the United States; a rousing vocal performance of “Wake Up Everybody” by singer Jelani Maleea; and an interactive rhythm, percussion and dance performance by Get Empowered! Unity-Arts, a national organization (based out of NYC) with a mission to uplift, unify and empower children and diverse community members of all ages through multicultural arts-education, diversity-inclusion and mindfulness programs.

NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens also commemorated Black History Month with a “Popcorn Video Series” of educational and inspirational videos sponsored by MetroPlusHealth Health Plan on every Friday throughout the month of February. Incorporating the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History’s 2019 theme of ‘Black Migrations,’ the video series explored the Great Migration from the twentieth century through today.

NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens’ Black History Month celebration was co-sponsored by MetroPlusHealth Health Plan and the hospital’s Joint Labor-Management Committee, and coordinated by its Black History Month Planning Committee, an enthusiastic group of present and past staff members.