It’s an honor to have the opportunity to share my thoughts with all of you. I’m proud to be representing On the Mark for Black History Month, and what a wonderful time it is to truly celebrate, respect, and learn about African American culture and our rich history here in the U.S.
Throughout history, Black men and women have had to fight to overcome adversity. In 2020, we saw reflections of history that we hoped we’d never see again—moments of division and injustice that created a desperate need for change. But what I’ve learned in my own life, is in order to make a change, we have to first look back.
Texas Children’s Hospital opened its doors in 1954, the same year the Civil Rights Movement began. As our organization and the wonderful men and women who worked within these walls were working to care for every child who needed us, there were countless children around the nation who were harmed or witnessed violence against their families, just because of the color of their skin.
When we look back at the history that is often the hardest to hear, we can see how far we have come as a nation and regain the hope that we will overcome again.
As former President Barack Obama said in a 2016 speech, Black History Month is “about the lived, shared experience of all African Americans, high and low, famous and obscure, and how those experiences have shaped and challenged and ultimately strengthened America. It’s about taking an unvarnished look at the past so we can create a better future. It’s a reminder of where we as a country have been so that we know where we need to go.”
As much as many want to forget the past, acknowledging and combatting the true heartbreak of racism is very much a part of Black History Month, and it’s essential that we remember and educate future generations so that history is not repeated.
As an African American woman, I am proud to know where I come from. I am proud to continuously learn about the trials my ancestors overcame. And I am proud to do all I can today to ensure their legacy never fades.
Although we have come so far, our work is not over. In the words of youth poet laureate, Amanda Gorman:
“For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
This is the era of just redemption
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter.”
Just as Mr. Wallace said in his most recent blog, we as a nation have come so far in many regards. I myself beamed with pride as I watched Kamala Harris, our nation’s first African American South Asian woman be sworn in as Vice President last month. This is a moment we can all be proud of.
When we think about where we’ve been and where we want to be, just as those who came before us—we will write a new chapter, and we will overcome.
This Black History Month, I ask you to take some time and listen to the stories of the strength and perseverance of our history. Listen to music by Black artists or read a book about Black history. And remember that while the past can be hurtful, the best choice you can make is to learn from it, do better and make a change for tomorrow.
Executive Vice President