Yale Chaplain, New Haven Students To Offer Inspiration At Yale School of Medicine's Martin Luther King Jr. Day Program

The Rev. Frederick J. Streets, Yale University chaplain and senior pastor of the Church of Christ in Yale, will join with three young people from New Haven and Yale to celebrate and honor the contributions of young people on Monday, Jan. 18, at the Yale University School of Medicine’s program observing Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“Voices of a New Generation: The Spirit of America’s Youth” is the theme of the program that will be held in Sterling Hall of Medicine’s Mary S. Harkness Auditorium, 333 Cedar St., 1-3 p.m. Student speakers are Charles Warner, Hill Career High School Class of 1999; Erin Armstead, Yale College ‘99; and Richard Lyn-Cook, Yale College ‘92, Yale Medical School ‘99. The program is free and open to the public. A reception will follow at 3 p.m. in the Beaumont Room.

“There has long been a need to give voice to the struggles and perspectives experienced by youth in our country today, especially in the context of how we as a community can address and affirm their aspirations as we come to the end of this millennium,” says Liza D. Cariaga-Lo, Ed.D., director for Multicultural Affairs at Yale School of Medicine. “This year, we especially wanted the Yale-New Haven community to come together to listen, be inspired and be informed by the moving testimonies of young people who have been an integral part of our community.”

As University chaplain, the Rev. Streets will help attendees reflect on the ways they can help young people understand the impact and relevance of Dr. King’s work in their everyday lives. “At a time when we seem to be continually bombarded by the pain of violence, hopelessness and despair visited upon our youth, it is all the more important that we come together in celebration and remembrance of the goodness, hopefulness and resiliency that still abides,” he said.

The program promises to be a true celebration for youth, with local young people from New Haven area schools, teachers, community and church leaders joining Yale University students, faculty and staff. This community event will feature the well-known Yale a cappella singing group Shades and the Hill Career High School Gospel Choir.

Warner is currently a senior at Hill Career High School, where he has become well-known to both teachers and students as a leader and inspirational speaker. He is a member of the National Honor Society and has been honored as a keynote speaker at the Connecticut statewide America’s Promise Conference. A New Haven native, he would like someday to combine his talents in music and the sciences to contribute to the general well-being of young people growing up in this city.

Armstead is from Somerset, N.J., and attended Rutgers Preparatory School, where she received numerous honors, including being designated the Hancox Memorial Scholar and Edward J. Bloustein Scholar. At Yale, she has been a member of the singing group Shades and was their musical director during the 1996-1997 season. A talented singer and dancer, Armstead aspires to be a physician in order “to establish programs to help provide opportunities for people to become more involved in their health care.”

Lyn-Cook was born in Jamaica and grew up in Queens, N.Y. After graduating from Regis High School in Manhattan, he attended Yale College from 1988-1992, where he majored in African-American Studies and was heavily involved in community service work in New Haven. He was active in the Black Student Alliance and was the director of educational activities for Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. Upon graduation from Yale College, Lyn-Cook worked for the Children’s Defense Fund, helping to coordinate youth summer training programs.

He entered Yale School of Medicine in 1994. While in medical school, Lyn-Cook has been active in the Student National Medical Association and was elected co-president of his class during his third year. He has been a recipient of the Arthur Ashe Program in AIDS Care Fellowship and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Academic Research Fellowship. He intends to pursue a combined internal medicine/pediatrics training program upon graduating in 1999, and hopes to utilize his skills as a physician to help care for the Caribbean community in New York City, as well as to engage in clinical research with the Centers for Disease Control.

As a young person growing up in Chicago, the Rev. Streets was greatly inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life. He graduated from Ottawa University (Kansas) and holds a master of divinity degree from Yale Divinity School. His master of social work and doctor of social welfare degrees are from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University in New York City. His research, publication, teaching and lecture interests are in pastoral theology, religion and social welfare.

Throughout his professional career, the Rev. Streets has been an advocate for the welfare of children and building bridges between people of different ethnic, class and religious backgrounds. He is committed to theological education and scholarship in the practice of ministry in a religiously pluralistic and multicultural secular society.