Last week we honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of our nation’s greatest civil rights leaders. Dr. King was a leader during a time when our nation was greatly divided. To say we are today in another time of controversy may be a gross understatement. We are perhaps more polarized as a nation today than in nearly any other era in American history.
We can’t all be Dr. King or have his ability to change the world, but we can change our corner of it. I don’t have all the answers, but I am committed to making a difference and not surrendering to the controversy. As a citizen of our community and as the leader of a major health care organization, I lean on several principles and actions that I believe can help address and ultimately solve challenges.
First, stay strong to a purpose. In Aurora’s case, to help people – all people and each other – live well, even when it’s not comfortable and convenient, even when we know little of how change will affect us or affect the people we serve.
I tell our caregivers that we need to be there for our patients. They expect us to do this, regardless of what happens in Washington with a new Congress and president. We may not ultimately be able to control what happens to the Affordable Care Act, but we can help to ease the anxieties and help heal the people who come to us for care, sometimes when at their most vulnerable.
Second, as business leaders we can play an important role by partnering with each other to address the serious issues in our communities. Aurora is working with many of you on key issues like sexual assault and domestic violence, and access to needed primary care and mental health services. By working together we can strengthen the fabric of our community.
Third, I believe as business leaders we can create real progress in stemming division, encouraging unity and valuing one another. We can make our companies safe and inclusive places for everyone who works with us and for everyone who walks through our doors. When we commit to truly embracing and valuing differences, we create a sanctuary where it is safe to express oneself and where respect is always given in return.
How we achieve this may not always be comfortable or convenient. But if we each commit to changing our corner of the world, imagine what a difference that would make in each of our communities.