There is a solidarity of existence between every human being. Human survival depends on mutual understanding, mutual trust, and mutual care. Forces that betray that solidarity, that shear the cords of mutualism, threaten everyone. And so the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Mychael Johnson, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, Tony McDade and most recently George Floyd must be denounced unequivocally and universally. Before they were killed, each of these people was living an intimate story, each one possessed an inner life. Each person had deep and complex emotional experiences and enjoyed family and community bonds. Each of these people deserved what every human being deserves: love, respect and protection.
Racial hatred has origins before the founding of our country and has been a consistent thread in each era of our country’s story. The conditions of George Floyd’s death are not uncommon. But the killing of George Floyd carries symbolic meaning for the entire nation. On video and in full view, it unambiguously declares that the iniquity of American racism remains real and immediate.
This iniquity is not just one man or one group’s racism. White privilege and black disadvantage are baked into power structures, identities and institutions across our country. The American playing field remains uneven. Each of us must examine our own lives, hearts and biases, speak the truth clearly and work for systemic change.
At the Family Health Center, we strive to promote equity in all functions of the organization. FHC’s work as a Federally Qualified Health Center was first envisioned by civil rights workers in the 1960s, and our fundamental services are an expression of civil rights ethics. To remove all possible barriers to accessing healthcare — and to support human thriving for those experiencing poverty — is a form of empowerment that sidesteps usual gatekeepers and structures of control. By offering healthcare to all, regardless of ability to pay, Family Health Center works to ensure the necessary preconditions for universal achievement of life and liberty. Our board, the majority of which is comprised of patients of the health center, sees to it that we continue to move in the trajectory established at our founding.
As a community health center, our work is to heal and protect bodies and lives. One-fourth of the lives we serve at Family Health Center are Black lives. They are sacred lives—lives that indeed matter. We stand together with our African American friends, families, patients, community members, employees and leaders denouncing violence against black bodies and lives. As an organization, we pledge to continue the work begun 50 years ago to ensure high-quality equitable healthcare for all.
God give us strength and wisdom to contribute meaningfully to that just end.