Bridging the Gap
The tragic violence against Americans, from citizens to law enforcement officers, is just one of the many painful symptoms of our unhealthy communities. Age-old conflicts over race, discrimination, poverty and opportunity have festered for decades. These conflicts now manifest themselves in debates about income inequality, housing, and incarceration rates, among many others.
People are fearful of others because of the color of their skin, the language they speak, the religion they practice – even the neighborhood they come from. Parents fear violence may find their children when they leave the house. Officers fear those that they are sworn to protect, and I am not immune from fear.
As an African American man, I know that fear causes my stomach to tighten at the thought of my son being pulled over by police. I’ve seen apprehension cause a woman to switch her purse to the opposite shoulder before passing me on the sidewalk. As a grandfather, I worry the world my two grandchildren will inherit if we allow fear to further isolate us. As a health care leader, I’m alarmed that another victim of violence will require treatment at a hospital tonight.
We can replace sleepless nights with hopeful mornings that make good on the promise of this great and open nation.
With this America in mind, I will personally host a series of gatherings within my organization, and within the communities we serve, bringing people together to confront the fear that ails us. Similar to the unifying events we’ve seen with activists and their local police forces, we’ll find common ground together, break bread over a meal, and have real conversations around our differences, experiences, and fears that lie within us.
I invite you to join us by treating fear with compassion in all the moments of your life – big and small. In this America, you can be the remedy that begins healing a nation, today.