A return to peace, love and tolerance

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On August 15, 1969, half a million people gathered on a 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York, for what would become one of the biggest events in music history – Woodstock.

The idea behind the first Woodstock musical festival was to raise enough money to build a recording studio in Woodstock, New York. But the three days that unfolded between August 15 and 18 far exceeded anyone’s expectations and became a cultural touchstone in American history.

My wife Shannon and I recently watched the Netflix documentary Woodstock: Three days that defined a generation, and we were awed by how so many people from all over the country and world were able to gather in one place, listen to some of the greatest musicians in history, and celebrate peace, love and tolerance during such a turbulent time in America’s history.

The peaceful nature of such a large crowd during a time of national unrest made me think of another historic moment – the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom 56 years ago today. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his riveting “I Have a Dream” speech that day to more than 250,000 people. The speech called for civil and economic rights and an end to racism in the United States using some of the most eloquent and inclusive language I have ever heard.

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While the tone of this iconic speech is stern and resolute, there is the overall feeling that the ideal of equality for all must be reached together, not apart. Not by pushing people away, not by calling each other names, and not by taking out our personal frustrations on people who are just trying to go about living their daily lives.

Dominated by the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement, the 1960s also saw the Cuban Missile Crisis and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King. Yet, even though rife with conflict and uncertainty, there still seemed to be more of an undertone of peace, love and tolerance in the messages spoken during that time versus so much of what we hear today.

I know the world we live in now is very different from the one in which I grew up, but I am an optimist, and I believe that peace, love and tolerance will prevail. I see these characteristics intertwined in the fabric of our culture at Texas Children’s, and it gives me hope. The diverse and inclusive culture we’ve created here, and the tireless work we do side by side to care for all children and women from every walk of life continue to inspire me.

In honor of the anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, I am re-sharing a video I first posted on his birthday earlier this year.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. video

The video contains a brief excerpt of his speech and a few of his quotes that continue to guide me every day. I hope they instill in you the same feeling of hope and unity they give me.

Mark H. Wallace

Category: Advocacy/Awareness, Embrace Freedom

About Mark A. Wallace

Mark A. Wallace was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Texas Children’s Hospital in 1989 at the age of 36. Under his leadership, Texas Children’s has grown into one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive pediatric and women’s health care organizations, garnering more than 4.3 million patient encounters annually and achieving international recognition as a referral center.

18 thoughts on “A return to peace, love and tolerance

  1. Erika Hayes says:

    I love this post! Dr. King was such an amazing writer and orator. Thank you for including the entire name of the March on Washington. Many people don’t realize that it was all about JOBS and freedom — and not just for black people but for everyone. The crescendo of the “I Have a Dream Speech” is what is most quoted, but if you read the entire speech he also talked about unity among the races and economic equality for all people.I didn’t live through the 60’s but I can appreciate how so many messages of harmony came from the civil rights struggle. Beautiful post.

  2. Tatianna says:

    Mr. Wallace thank you for writing such a wonderful blog in a time of need. I too am optimistic that love will prevail.

  3. Emily Ybarra Curry says:

    Thank you very much for this post. So true! We have an opportunity every day to model this inclusive, compassionate, and tolerant behavior–and each day that we do, we make things a little better.

  4. Dora L Nieto says:

    Mark, it must of been an awesome time for you growing up as a teen and early adult adulthood. You got to experience so many things, that I have only heard of. Thanks for sharing this! Perhaps, in the future I will be sharing events with my family members as well

  5. Pamala S. Pennington says:

    Mr. Wallace, thank you for posting this blog. I lived in the 60’s and can relate to what you have posted. I was in middle school during Woodstock and don’t remember much about it. My older siblings have discussed their memories about it with me. I do remember when Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his “I have a Dream” speech which is very touching. It brings tears and joy each time I hear it. Things were different then and over the years things seemed to have gotten better. The last few years have been very different and not always for the good. This is very sad. I fear for what my children and grandchildren will face unless things get better. I will remain faithful. I do understand that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. I am praying that this world becomes a much better place to live. That means that we as a people will need to become a more praying society and believe that it takes ALL of us to be more tolerant of one another. We should avoid the “Hatred” that has become so familiar in our society.
    Bless you, your family and our TCH family.

  6. Anthanette Darden says:

    I was starting my teen years when Woodstock was around. I definitely remember the Speech and everything with March on Washington. Yes, I am glad that there are still loving, compassionate people in the world from all walks of life. I always look forward to your Blogs and messages in these dire a times with so much hatred and unrest the world is experiencing. Thank you Mr. Wallace!

  7. Ubong Usua says:

    Mr. walllace, thank you so much for this very inspiring post on your blog. I , too, I’m hopeful that love will prevail at the end, as it always does. I see it exemplified everyday at TCH as I come to work and I feel privileged to be a part of it.

  8. Lesa Jackson says:

    thank you!

  9. Christine Greer says:

    UNITY Working here at TCH I learned that we are ONE no matter what department we are in. looking at this video and seeing the unity of all race come together as one is what family is about. I’ve seen praying, consoling, helping, being a part of things going on at TCH makes me feel I’m not just an employee I’m family and will continue doing my best to meet greet help pray and love each one of my employees and patients that I meet every day. Thank You for sharing this video and I hope it inspires all generations that see it

  10. Patricia Rahbani says:

    Thank you Mr. Wallace for this reflection. It helps us stop, think, and look at the most important things. I definitely remind us that love is the cure!

  11. Paola Alvarez-Malo says:

    What a great post, especially during a time when there is so much discord in the world. Your optimism that peace, love and tolerance will prevail is contagious and appreciated.

  12. Ron Henry says:

    I agree with you Mr. Wallace. This world needs more love. I am very optimistic for what the future brings. This past weekend I attended a “Love never Fails” based on 1 Cor 4:7,8 conventiion and saw true love in action. It was wonderful.

  13. Atlena Beckford says:

    This was really inspiring to me. Even though the world is going through difficult times, your post made me reflect on the things that are truly important – love, peace, compassion and human dignity for each other. Thank You……..

  14. Atlena Beckford says:

    Thank You for this inspiring post. Unity is indeed strength. May we all come together as one

  15. Lajuana Hodges says:

    Hey Mark I agree this is how TCH will continue to prevail through peace ,love and Tolerance we truly care and people can see this that why this place is the best place for me.This is why I admire and respect you because you and your wife have a good soul truly. Thanks again for sharing this.

  16. Mustak Ali says:

    Best blog ever! We should never normalize hate.

  17. Jewel Sims says:

    Mr. Wallace, I have volunteered at TCH for more than 10 years. It has been a positive experience and I cherish having a small but valued role within this wonderful organization. I have been particularly blessed with your encouraging words during the unrest that has plagued our beautiful country in recent years. Your positive, productive words of wisdom have calmed my unrest and given me continued hope for our Country’s future. I am a product of the onset of “equality and freedom” having entered corporate America in the 60s at a time that was pioneering for women and minorities. I have hope that those efforts and sacrifices are not lost. We must never lose hope. Thank you for your encouragement and your efforts to make a difference at TCH and ultimately the world. Blessings!

  18. Valerie S Mayer says:

    if THE LEADERS OF THE WORLD WILL THINK LIKE YOU MR. WALLACE, THIS WORLD WOULD BE CLOSER TO THE ORIGINAL IDEAL CONCEPT OF UNITY AND PEACE THAT IT IS SO SCARCE IN THESE DAYS.
    THANK YOU,

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