Black Lives Matter and Texas Children’s will continue to lead and support initiatives for racial equality throughout our organization. Given where our country stands, and what I know many of you are thinking and feeling, I want you to know where I stand as your President and CEO and how deeply this issue resonates with Shannon and me.
Racial, religious, and gender equality have been an important focus of mine throughout my 42 year career. Over the past three decades that I have had the privilege to lead Texas Children’s, I have worked tirelessly with our Board, our leaders, and each of you to make equality, diversity, and inclusiveness a part of our foundation. I can’t say that we have always gotten it right—and I can’t guarantee that we always will moving forward—but what I can promise is that you have my word that we will continue to try harder and to be better at every opportunity.
As I watch our community and our nation in a state of grief and unrest, it is clear that today, we are not where we need to be, and there is still so much work to do. I speak and act for all of us at Texas Children’s, and we will not stop fighting for change. Barack Obama said, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” But none of us can do this alone, so I ask you today to please join me.
We all have a role to play, and each of us can do something—on your team, in your family, or in your community. Whether you choose to march in a peaceful demonstration, commit your time, energy, and resources to an organization that fights for equality, or lobby to elect officials that are willing to fight against systemic racism and oppression – your contribution matters. But change will be a process and is not something that can be achieved overnight, but we will keep working, talking, listening, and doing. There is no silver bullet, but we will continue to do what is right, not what is easy to achieve the change that our African-American communities so rightfully deserve.
In the coming weeks and months, Texas Children’s will build upon the current diversity initiatives we have in place and will launch additional programs to support you. Our Human Resources team and Department of Psychology will share resources and information to help comfort you during these trying times. I have had so many important conversations with you over this past week, and the one thing that I have heard time and again, through your pain, confusion, and heartache, is that you need to be heard. I know speaking up can be hard, especially when we are all trying to grasp for the right words and the right sentiments to convey how we feel – but we will find a meaningful way to ensure your voice and opinions are heard. Speaking up and speaking out will help us get through this—and it will make us stronger when we reach the other side.
This week, Houston will be in the spotlight as family members, our community and national leaders come together to pay our respects to George Floyd. In his memory, I invite our Texas Children’s family to join in a moment of silence on Tuesday, June 9th, at 11:00 am. Not only to remember Mr. Floyd, his unjust death, and the countless other lives lost but to reflect on how we can move forward and how we can heal.
Shannon and I will be participating in a peaceful protest tomorrow, June 9, at 2:30 pm on the lawn of the Commons (6550 Bertner Avenue) for Scientists and Health Professionals for Black Lives. We will be wearing our masks and staying safe, but if your schedule and time permits, we welcome you to join us and urge you to wear your masks too.
Tonight we will light up our Miracle Bridge in black and yellow and will keep it lit until Juneteenth (June 19) at midnight. This is another small way for us to show our support for the Black Lives Matter movement, but we are just beginning. I am working with administrative and medical staff leaders throughout the organization on upcoming programs and plans that will help spark conversation and meaningful change. The dialogue and our work is just beginning, and you will continue to hear from me with regular updates on our progress.
I am prayerful about all that is taking place, not just for my family, but for all of the people that are being impacted, for each of you, and for our beloved organization.
Please stay safe and be good to each other.