Events / MLK Week: Congresswoman Cori Bush & Panel Discussion on Activism

MLK Week: Congresswoman Cori Bush & Panel Discussion on Activism

11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Zoom (Virtual)

This event is part of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Week. It is free and is open to everyone. The conference will be virtual this year due to COVID-19 distancing restrictions. Registration is not required. This event will be recorded and available for later viewing.

Recording now available:

Watch MLK Week videos »

Panel Discussion on Activism featuring a live message from Congresswoman Cori Bush. Panelists will share their work as activists in our community.

Panelists are:

  • Gmerice Hammond, MD
    Cardiology Fellow, Washington University School of Medicine
  • Jeffery McCune, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and of African and African-American Studies, Washington University
  • Leah Newcomer from Washington University School of Medicine’s White Coats for Black Lives Chapter

About U.S. Representative Bush


Congresswoman Cori Bush is a registered nurse, community activist, organizer, single mother, and ordained pastor for the people of St. Louis. Congresswoman Bush is serving her first term as the representative of Missouri’s 1st Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. She is the first Black woman and first nurse to represent Missouri; the first woman to represent Missouri’s 1st Congressional District; and the first activist from the movement fighting for Black lives elected to the United States Congress.

Congresswoman Bush has lived the struggles that many in her community face. She has personally experienced being unhoused and evicted and is a survivor of police, sexual, and domestic violence. She centers those hardships in her fight for regular, everyday people. Her mission is to do the very most for all of the people of Missouri’s 1st Congressional District—starting with those who have the very least.

Born and raised in St. Louis, Congresswoman Bush graduated from Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School and studied at Harris-Stowe State University before receiving a nursing degree from the Lutheran School of Nursing. She has served her community for more than a decade as a nurse, clergy, and childcare worker. A relentless advocate for the unhoused community in St. Louis, Congresswoman Bush has spent years as a community organizer providing services and aid to her unhoused neighbors in the district. In 2014, following the murder of Michael Brown Jr. by a now-terminated Ferguson police officer, Congresswoman Bush spent more than 400 days protesting for justice — leading on the ‘Ferguson Frontline’ as a nurse and clergy. During the day, Bush was responsible for providing triage-medical care and resources to the community that witnessed Mike Brown’s body laying, uncovered, for four and a half hours in the hot St. Louis summer sun. In the evenings, Bush would return to march for justice — surviving police brutality in the process. In the years following, she continued her activism as a co-founder of The Truth Telling Project and as a leader of the protest group #ExpectUS.

Despite being the daughter of a local mayor and alderman, Congresswoman Bush never intended to run for office. Following the Ferguson Uprising, Bush was asked to run for office by community leaders. Although she initially rejected their requests, she pursued public office because she could not stand to see her son or daughter become hashtags of injustice without doing all she could to protect them. She intends to legislate in defense of Black lives to ensure no family has to fear that their loved ones may suffer at the hands of police. She also intends to center her experience as a nurse and as someone who’s been uninsured to advance policies like Medicare For All to guarantee health care as a fundamental right for everyone.

Congresswoman Bush is the recipient of the 2015 “Woman of Courage” Award from the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation. In May of 2019, she received the Herschel Walker Award at the 27th Annual Herschel Walker “Peace & Justice” Awards. In June of 2019, she was selected Top Nurse by the International Nurses Association. In October of 2020, the Jefferson City NAACP awarded Congresswoman Bush their prestigious “Trailblazer Award.”

Like our nation’s first Black congresswoman, Shirley Chisholm, Congresswoman Bush is unbought and unbossed, following a campaign in which she took no corporate PAC money. She is accountable only to the people of Missouri’s 1st Congressional District and will do all that she can to make sure every single person in her district, in our country, and around the world lives a decent life.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”

— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all Washington University School of Medicine sponsored events.  If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this event, please contact the Washington University School of Medicine Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in advance at 314-273-2809 or

This event is brought to you by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Office of Diversity Programs with a special thanks to the MLK Week committee members: Vicky Braun (WUSM IM- Gastroenterology), Joel Dalton (WUSM Diversity Programs, Biology & Biomedical Science) Rosie Jones (WUSM Diversity Programs, Biology & Biomedical Science), Valerie Joyner (Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion), Dorian Pierce (BJCMG Access Center, WUSM Otolaryngology), Liz Riggs (WUSM Diversity Programs), Poli Rijos (WU Center for Community Health Partnership and Research Institute for Public Health),  Erin Stampp (Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion), James Zerkel (WUSM Becker Medical Library)