John Jenkins, Maine's first Black state senator and mayor of both Lewiston and Auburn, led a remarkable life and his influence extended far beyond his politics and his constituents. He was a four-time world champion in karate and through his business PEP (Personal Enrichment Programs) Talk he gave individuals and organizations the tools for change based on stories and lessons fostering community and the interdependence of mind and spirit. And he was a talented puppeteer who used puppets in presentations to schools throughout Maine. He loved stories, and used them to lower barriers between himself and the largely white audiences of his adopted state.
This moving biography by John's friend and Bates College classmate, Chuck Radis, reminds us all of Jenkins' generous spirit and of his contributions to our state. He gave us lessons we would all do well to remember.
Throughout his years as both a primary health care physician and as a specialist, Dr. Radis has published both in peer-reviewed journals and in the popular press. He has written on the narcotic epidemic, the logic of expanding Medicare for all Americans, and medical marijuana. As the medical director for the Maine-African Partnership for Social Justice, he travels regularly to the Kiryandongo UN Settlement in Uganda where he partners with refugee groups in innovative public health programs. In recognition of his commitment to public health, Dr. Radis has been named both the Louis Hanson Maine Physician of the Year, and Teacher of the Year at the University of New England, College of Osteopathic Medicine--a rare achievement. He lives on Peaks Island, Maine.