CEO, Kentucky Primary Care Association
I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe! That phrase is much more than the last words of a dying black man in Minneapolis. It is the symbolic position of all people of color and many others of various races, nationalities, and ethnicities who have been left behind in the American Dream.
Yes, George Floyd’s death was tragic and reprehensible, at the least. But to allow this intolerable and divisive splintering of our nation to continue is even more of an issue. To allow hatred, in any form, to continue is an injustice to all Americans. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said so equivalently many decades ago: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” This is our time to drive out the darkness of systemic racism, bias, and prejudice, against our African American neighbors. Now is the time to shine a light for change!
Yes, police brutality is a problem. The numbers don’t lie. It’s more of a symptom. But so is the attitude we have toward our fellow Americans who may not have been born here. Those who worship differently. Those in poverty. Those of color. These are the people robbed of a chance and of the opportunity for a better life, freedom, and the protection of a country founded on the principles of democracy. We are marginalizing the very people who built this country. Those who fought to preserve our way of life and the freedom we cherish.
I am the CEO of the Kentucky Primary Care Association. The clinics we serve are Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics. They are responsible for the health care of almost 25 percent of Kentucky’s residents. They care for their communities and their patients without regard to race, social status, religion, or the ability to pay. Each and everyone who walks through their doors is treated with kindness and as a human being. It is time for us to take a lesson, as a society, from those on the front-line of meeting the health care needs of our next-door neighbors and all residents of the communities these organizations serve.