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MLK Day March and Ceremony Inspires Community to Carry on Dr. King’s Legacy

Published on Monday, January 16, 2017

PONTIAC, Mich.—Residents and community leaders of all ages gathered together on Mon., Jan. 16, 2017, at McLaren Oakland to share their dreams and hear stories of triumph as they celebrated the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Following the Greater Pontiac Community Coalition’s MLK Unity March from the Phoenix Center, participants gathered in the hospital lobby for a continental breakfast and special ceremony.

Jennifer Thamer and Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman
Jennifer Thamer and Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman
McLaren Oakland served as a sponsor of the 2017 Greater Pontiac Community Coalition’s Unity Week Events, and this year’s theme, “Standing Up for Change.” Jennifer Thamer, executive director of the McLaren Oakland Foundation, served as mistress of ceremonies, welcoming everyone while Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman also spoke, saying, “Pontiac continues the tradition of celebrating the life of an honored hero for civil rights for this country and throughout the world.”

Speakers and dignitaries present at the event included Chad Grant, president and CEO of McLaren Oakland; the Rev. Derrick McDonald, Prospect Missionary Baptist Church; Mayor Deirdre Waterman, City of Pontiac; David Bowman, commissioner, Oakland County and community outreach coordinator, McLaren Oakland; Kaino Phillips, founder, The Ascend Foundation; Pastor Douglas P. Jones, president of the Greater Pontiac Community Coalition.

The ceremony included singing, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “We Shall Overcome,” led by Jayla Buckley of Welcome Baptist Church Youth and performances from Quest Cheer and Dance Group. Pastor Douglas Jones gave closing remarks, saying, “There’s never been a greater moment for us to come together and stand up for change.”

About McLaren Oakland
McLaren Oakland is a 328-bed medical center that provides primary and specialty health care services to the greater Pontiac and Oakland County community. Founded in 1953, McLaren Oakland has grown to a comprehensive medical community that includes outpatient facilities in Clarkston and Oxford, as well as an inpatient hospital providing a range of clinical services including emergency and trauma care, cardiology, cancer services, minimally invasive robotic surgery and orthopedic services. With a network of more than 300 physicians, McLaren Oakland owns a network of employed physician offices throughout Oakland County and a nursing home in Lake Orion. McLaren Oakland is a verified trauma center and an accredited stroke center. To learn more, visit

About McLaren Oakland Foundation
The McLaren Oakland Foundation is the fundraising and community outreach arm of McLaren Oakland. Established in 2004 to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, race and financial status has access to state-of-the-art health care services, the McLaren Oakland Foundation strives to improve the health and well-being of underserved individuals in Oakland County. The McLaren Oakland Foundation has provided over 4,000 free mammogram screenings to medically underserved women; breast cancer awareness and education throughout Oakland County; support to the McLaren Oakland Children’s Clinic; and health screenings for the local community. To learn more, visit