Med center to host annual Martin Luther King Jr. event Jan. 21

by Lisa Spellman, UNMC public relations | January 10, 2019

Image with caption: Ben Gray, president of the Omaha City Council

Ben Gray, president of the Omaha City Council

On Jan. 21, the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Nebraska Medicine will once again honor the life and work of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., with the keynote presentation, "All Life is Inter-related," by Ben Gray, president of the Omaha City Council.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in Clarkson Tower, Lower Storz Pavilion. Gray's presentation is sponsored by UNMC and Nebraska Medicine.

Gray was elected to the Omaha City Council in 2009 and was re-elected in 2013 and 2017. He is a council member for District 2, located in the northeast quadrant of Omaha.

During his time on the council, Gray has championed a number of social and political issues, which include requiring a more level playing field for small contractors and securing funds to create the "Step Up" summer jobs program. He worked to push a master plan for north Omaha, fought for the civil rights of the LGBTQ+ community, worked with council colleagues to pass legislation in an effort to help those chronically unemployed, and supported and helped create the "Good Neighbor" ordinance that addresses problem liquor establishments.

Gray also championed the newly formed Land Bank in an effort to address problem properties and the numerous empty lots across the city, but specifically in his council district.

Prior to being elected to the city council, Gray was a photojournalist for the ABC affiliate, KETV Ch. 7. While in television, he produced and hosted the longest running public affairs show in the history of Omaha television, "Kaleidoscope," which was on the air for 30 years. He has won numerous local, regional and national awards as a journalist, talk show host and photographer. He also has won numerous awards for his ongoing work with "at risk" youth as well as hardcore gang members.

Food and beverages are available for the first 150 people. Keyboardist Nate Asad and drummer Billy Foeman Quartey will provide musical accompaniment.

Parking for off-campus visitors is available in Lot 63, located at 40th and Marcy streets from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. A shuttle will run between Clarkson Tower and Lot 63 from 11 a.m. to noon and again from 1 -2 p.m.

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