Liberty and Justice for All
by Marisette Hasan, President & CEO, The Carolinas Center
As little children, we were taught to recite these words: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”. In the events that have followed George Floyd’s untimely and criminal death, our nation has responded in every state with protests, raising their voices in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, collectively echoing this sentiment, “We Can’t Breathe” if injustice continues. While I am concerned about the rise of COVID-19 cases with these large gatherings, I admire and applaud the unity and solidarity of raising a UNITED VOICE, that inequality and injustice for any race is not acceptable!
I am proud to say that as a health care professional and as a leader in the hospice and palliative care industry, that we uphold these words penned by our American forefathers:“We hold these truths to be self–evident , that all men are created equal”. Every day, as we care for dying patients and their families, even in the midst of this unprecedented Public Health Emergency, we are rolling up our sleeves to care for all who come to our doors, the white and the brown, the poor and the rich, the young and the old, the gay and the straight! Yet, in my heart, I know that more is needed! We must hold up the light in our communities, we must lock arms and not hide behind our noble and meaningful work, but we must all in our own ways make a difference in demonstrating compassion and love to our neighbors, starting first with having a willingness to understand the challenges that face those in our community who are daily experiencing racial injustices. We must be proactive and be courageous to open our eyes and our ears to hear the issues, seek to understand and be a part of the solution!
I have been grateful and moved by receiving calls from my colleagues who have reached out to me personally to inquire about the well-being and me and my family and to offer their support! As an African American nurse, wife, mother, aunt, etc. my heart weeps as I witness the unnecessary death of black females and males. However, I have hope that each of us can make a difference regardless of our race and background.
The Carolinas Center is committed to helping our members continue their passion to provide access and care to all who need our care, regardless of race, creed, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation or faith convictions. Click the link below to access resources provided that are designed to help us enhance our understanding of the current issues and increase our ability to be culturally relevant and competent during this time. Finally, I will close with the words of Michelle Obama, shared with me recently. Michelle Obama delivered the keynote address to young African women leaders in South Africa. Below are the excerpts from her speech.
“I hope that you will commit yourselves to doing what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are, because in the end, that is what makes you a lion. Not fortune, not fame, not your pictures in history books, but the refusal to remain a bystander when others are suffering, and that commitment to serve however you can, where you are.” —Michelle Obama quoting Teddy Roosevelt
“You may not always have a comfortable life. And you will not always be able to solve all the world’s problems all at once. But don’t ever underestimate the impact you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own.” —Michelle Obama