Las Vegas, New Mexico – Ruthy Watson of New Mexico Highlands will deliver the keynote address for the Santa Fe Branch of the N.A.A.C.P. event commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Jan. 21.
Watson directs the HU – Center for Advocacy, Resources, Education and Support at Highlands. She speaks at the New Mexico Roundhouse rotunda Jan. 21 at 1:30 p.m.
“We believe Dr. Watson’s presentation will excite the audience and encourage them to be active as they address the challenges identified by Dr. King throughout his life,” said Cedric Page, chair of the MLK, Jr. commemoration committee for the Santa Fe Branch of the N.A.A.C.P.
The theme for this year’s commemoration is: “King: All life is interrelated.”
“I plan to start my speech with the following words of Dr. King: ‘We must all learn to live together, or we will surely perish alone,’” Watson said. “Dr. King made it a point to clearly illustrate the many ways that our lives are interrelated.”
Watson said her speech will emphasize that the welfare of each man, woman and child in our communities is our concern.
“We are obligated to speak up for those who continue to be unfairly treated, profiled, and suffer from the inequities that are part of the experience of people of color in New Mexico, the United States, and worldwide,” Watson said.
Watson said she plans to incorporate one of her favorite songs in her speech.
“The song is, ‘He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.’ The essential theme of this song is that first, the welfare of all people is our concern. And second, addressing issues that affect our brothers and sisters is not a burden, but rather a responsibility and privilege we all share,” Watson said.
Watson said that we carry one another’s injustices together.
“We fight from a position of strength and numbers, rather than weaknesses and individuality, ”Watson said.
Watson said being selected to give this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day keynote address is an incredible honor and opportunity to speak out on a larger platform about issues that are pertinent to our society and existence as a country.
“At a time when we are so concerned about individuality, it’s a chance to remind us that our lives are not singularly focused, but instead are about the collective us and what we can do for others. We must do this together in order to create positive change,” Watson said.
Watson said that as lives change, it creates a domino effect, proving again that our lives are interrelated.
Watson said that throughout her life, Dr. King was, and continues to be, a powerful inspiration.
“Dr. King’s belief in equality and justice for all has always resonated with me and served as a guide for how I want to live and work with others,” Watson said.
Watson earned her Ph.D. in public health from Walden University in Minneapolis, with an emphasis in health promotion and community health education. She taught previously on the faculty at Highlands before being named HU–CARES director in August 2018.
She has also taught on the faculty of institutions such as St. Joseph’s University, Broward College, and Southside Virginia Community College.
Watson presents at multidisciplinary health conferences in the United States and globally, including Sydney, Prague, Ireland, and England.
She is an active member of the American Public Health Association, which honored Watson in 2018 with the Judith R. Miller Award for Extraordinary Service.