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Juan Williams stood before a packed Bornstein Amphitheater last week and challenged the audience to look at history through a point of contrast and to ask what we can do now.
“Exactly how are we using our moment in history? Let’s for a moment raise our eyes and see the larger society and bigger picture. Take a moment to acknowledge we have the power and are not victims of history,” said Williams, a senior NPR correspondent and author of Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965.
Williams was the keynote speaker at this year’s annual Celebration of the Legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The program examined King’s dream and message and discussed how he would react to today’s poverty levels, education quality and health care availability. Williams emphasized how everyone can make a difference through acts of kindness.
“If there is to be a living Dr. King, it’s got to be embodied in all we are doing at BWH. It’s not about the profit, the advanced degrees or the bragging rights; it’s about who we are. We need love amid all the machines, degrees and pictures on the wall. You’re in a fight to be the kind of people that others in the community look to as leaders,” Williams said.
BWH President Gary Gottlieb, MD, MBA, detailed the leading role BWH and Partners HealthCare are playing in the quest to reduce disparities in health care. “The dream of Dr. King continues to inspire the hearts and minds of all of us as we work to create equality in all aspects of our society,” said Gottlieb. “We are grappling with racial disparities in health care, and, I am truly proud to say, we are making strides, but we must do more.”
The program also honored recipients of the Greater Boston YMCA Black Achiever Awards. (See page 3.)
Following the celebration, the BWH Association of Multicultural Members of Partners (AMMP) hosted a reception in the Cafeteria dedicated to the memory of Yolanda Denise King. Selwyn Rogers, Jr., MD, MPH, chief of the Division of Trauma, Burns and Surgical Critical Care, addressed ways everyone can live Dr. King’s dream.
“Patients tend not to remember the technical jargon, the medications you give them, but they remember how you talk to them, touch them,” he said. “It’s amazing how the simple act of asking ‘Can I help you?’ makes a difference.”
See more photos at www.bwhpikenotes.org/media