LifeBridge Health > We Stand With George Floyd

CARE BRAVELY = WE STAND WITH GEORGE

We Stand With George Floyd We Care Bravely
Photo: Baltimore Sun

Yesterday, thousands of individuals from across Baltimore and Maryland came together to protest peacefully in support of justice for George Floyd and the countless others whose names were or have never been national news. Black, brown and white stood together to demand change to long-standing issues of police brutality, criminal justice reform and social and economic inequity. Baltimore, with its own all-too-recent history of police brutality and subsequent violence did, on this day, show the nation that we are capable of and seek positive change and that Black Lives Matter.

We Stand With George Floyd

The death of Mr. Floyd, yet another unarmed victim, serves as an unfortunate reminder that the African-American community and people of color remain vulnerable to racially motivated violence at the hands of those sworn to protect them. In Baltimore, the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody remains in our collective conscious as part of this larger and tragic national history – one which we can hope will serve as a catalyst for the change we so desperately need (#wecantbreathe).

COVID-19: Unprecedented Challenges For Communities Of Color

While the COVID-19 virus and its impact recognize no boundaries having crossed nearly all geographic, economic, race, gender and age lines, the clinical and economic devastation to many of the communities we serve – communities of color – have been particularly severe. Nationally, African-American deaths from COVID-19 are nearly two times greater than would be expected based on share of the population (source: NPR). In Maryland, African-Americans have more recorded COVID-19 cases than any other ethnic group and are second in number of deaths to whites in the state (source: State of MD. The disproportionate depth of impact to these communities has been particularly disturbing.

As devastating as these losses are to families across the State of Maryland, thousands more have been economically blindsided by job loss and reduced hours. Many of those sidelined due to COVID-19 were already struggling to meet the basic needs of their loved ones: childcare, transportation, healthcare, food and housing. Scrambling to provide these necessities during the best of circumstances, many now only see themselves as falling deeper into a hole from which there is little hope of escape. While state and federal assistance offer some support – they rarely suffice for long.

While separate on their surface, the brutality we witnessed this week in the death of George Floyd and the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color stem from the same source: systemic racial inequity, discrimination and disinvestment. While hope is the ingredient that we all look to when change is needed – the other is action.

We Take Action

History is littered with occasions where good people were witness to evil and violence but did little to halt or obstruct its progress. As an organization founded on the need to serve those discriminated against, it is our mission and our calling to deliver care – in whatever form – to those in our community who now represent that same need. Over the last several years we have made strategic decisions to invest in underserved communities. From our commitments to invest in a revitalized Pimlico complex (long a symbol of city decay), to our acquisition of the now Grace Medical Center and community center complex, we have taken major steps to invest hundreds of millions of dollars, clinical and other resources back into communities long devoid of attention or opportunity. We have recently altered our hiring protocols across the system in a deliberate effort to give hard-working, caring people in our communities access to jobs and benefits. We have made and will continue to make these types of investments in the communities we serve – all of which stem from a belief in a common humanity and that without opportunity – there is no growth. And while we are only one organization, our example and influence has and will continue to lead to collective action and investment. To be sure – there is more that we can and will do.

We CARE BRAVELY

While the police brutality that led to the death of Mr. Floyd has many causes and just as many solutions – they all start with understanding and a fundamental caring for one’s fellow man. As an organization with caring at its core, when we see or say, “CARE BRAVELY,” I would ask you to think for a moment about what really “caring” means for you. Is it caring for:

  • The patient in front of you?
  • The community you provide care for but aren’t from?
  • The colleague from another culture you don’t fully understand?
  • The person who makes less than you?
  • The person who makes more than you?

While this small action is but one of many we can take to address the issues directly confronting us (voting being another), true understanding is what precedes all action – and action is what is needed now to honor the sacrifices of Mr. Floyd and others who have suffered the same fate. Action yes – but action with a purpose; to change.