We are in the midst of a crisis in humanity. While we are still dealing with COVID pandemic and its deleterious health, economic and societal consequences, our troubling past of racism and inequality is rearing its ugly head.
The senseless killings at the hands of police, the shameful subjugation of persons of color, the systemic prejudice of a person based upon gender, sexual orientation, or disability have placed us at a tipping point in society. We are vulnerable as a community, as a state, and as a nation. As I am writing this, I am disheartened, disillusioned, and spiritually broken.
Our children are witnesses and possibly victims of this inequity. So we as persons of all ways of life and ethnicity must do right for our current generation of highly impressionable minds. As I pen this “call to care,” I ask you all to consider the following important actions:
1. We must first take a self-inventory of our personal beliefs. Am I possibly harboring ill will toward others that may be unfounded and partial? If so, we must let it go.
2. We must talk to our children as they are likely confused or scared about current events. Presenting the truth about inequality can only empower them and thus protect them. Hence, when they are of age, they can also do the right thing.
3. If we are angry, frustrated, exasperated by the current state of society, we should channel this energy toward compassion, caring, and empathy for all of humanity. Defend persons that are disadvantaged through thought and action.
4. We must speak up, take action, and express our intolerance of all inequalities. However, we should do so in a constructive manner that will positively work for change. Demonstration should not include destruction. The narrative should be about the issues and not the hysteria.
5. We must work in collaboration with our current local, state, and federal officials. Ideas for change are far more powerful than any malice or complaint. We must implore policymakers to focus on social reforms in a nonpartisan manner. Resources utilized to improve access to health care, employment, infrastructure in the more disadvantaged communities will pay immeasurable dividends. We need fewer arms escalation and more care elevation.
6. We must specifically work with all law enforcement to ask for transparency, accountability, and empathy during these tumultuous times. Officers of the law are by and large good persons that protect us for the right reasons. Defunding or diminishing the police based upon the heinous actions of a few bad actors is not a solution. We must instead ask for comprehensive training in improving community relations, learning about the art of de-escalation of conflict, and teaching cultural awareness and empathy. Such knowledge can certainly improve the manner the police enforce the laws that govern us.
7. Lastly, we must do something, anything. This is not a call to arms but instead a call to care. It truly begins with living by the Golden Rule: “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.” If we live with this guiding principle, we can make individual changes that will collectively make an enormous difference.
In closing, let’s start by acknowledging that discrimination and inequality is a health care dilemma and a crisis of humanity. No matter what our vocation is, we must work toward correcting this systemic malady. We belong to the race of humanity, and this is the only life we have. Hence, we must embrace it, live it to its fullest, and enjoy it as best we can, unencumbered by hate, disrespect, and discrimination. Please take the first step.
Nicolo Geralde is a neonatologist.
Image credit: Shutterstock.com