A statement by Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital CEO Dr. Elaine Batchlor
George Floyd’s murder started long before a white police officer pressed a knee to his neck. It started in a centuries-old racist mindset and in policies that have also produced underfunded schools, sub-standard housing, chronic lack of health care, and police brutality and prisons that characterize and constrain much of African American experience to this day.
The protests and riots we are seeing today are expressions of outrage at these repeated failures. They are an indictment of a defective social contract between the governing and the governed. It’s time for that contract to be ripped up, and a new, more inclusive and more equitable one drafted.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital in South Los Angeles was borne out of a recognition of that failure. We were created to bring high-quality health care to one of the most medically-underserved communities in the nation. Our mandate is to address deep health inequities caused by generations of racist policies and attitudes that, even today, influence how people of color live, love, learn and work.
There should be more MLKCHs—not just bringing excellence to health care, but to education, employment opportunities, housing, and above all, the mechanisms of justice upon which the safe functioning of our society depends.
There needs to be investment in these solutions that goes beyond words and token gestures.
How we do unto each other, now and in the future, can be an act of social justice. We can continue to delay this justice. Or we can take this moment when so many of us of all races, religious beliefs and orientations are united in outrage and grief to push for a transformation of our minds, our communities and our nation.
That is where true healing begins.