Every January as we enter a new year and a new season, I find myself reflecting on the words and actions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a remarkable leader and his teachings and philosophy will certainly continue to mold generations, the same way it molded me from a young age. I was only 10 years old when Dr. King delivered his prolific ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in 1963 and to this day, I remain incredibly grateful for the lifelong impact it made on me.
As a child and throughout my teenage years, I spent so much of my free time playing basketball. One summer at basketball camp, I noticed a new, talented group of athletes. Always wanting to meet friends who loved the game as much as I did, I immediately flocked to them. However, I did not expect to be met with hesitation, not only from my own friends, but also from this new group of boys.
These young men were African American. It’s no surprise that racism and prejudices surrounded all of us as we grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, but instead of letting the division alter my beliefs and outlooks for worse—I learned from it. And even though the world was teaching division, I chose to do all I could to break those barriers and hopefully inspire those around me to do the same.
Over the next few weeks, I did my best to follow and embody Dr. King’s dream, I worked to break down the walls these boys had built to protect themselves. I began to spend more and more time with them and in the long run, I could not be more grateful for that remarkable group of boys who spent their summer days at basketball camp teaching me to be a better athlete and all the while, teaching me to be a better person.
In my 33 years as your President and CEO, I’ve been committed to bringing light to diversity and inclusion, and educating myself on what I do not know or understand. I owe much of my passion and dedication to this matter to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his vision for the future. I also owe it to the summers I spent with those young men. While our journeys led us to different places, I carry the memories and lessons from my friends every day as I walk the halls of this hospital.
I’d like to believe that if Dr. King was alive today, he’d be proud and inspired by Texas Children’s and the more than 17,000 unique individuals who work together to care for every child and woman who comes through our doors — just as I am every day. Each of us has our own individual story to tell—our own scars and our own identities, yet we can effortlessly come together to exemplify compassion and care to our patients and to one another.
If that alone is Texas Children’s story, then I’ve done my job.
12 Responses to “Generations of Change: Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”
Beautifully stated but more important are your actions which do indeed speak louder than words. I am grateful for the numerous traditions that I have witnessed at Texas Children’s Hospital throughout the years of your tenure. I have been looking forward to reading your comments about Dr. Martin Luther King. I know he would be proud of your individual efforts and the wonderful blended community we represent as an institution.
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too big a burden to bear.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dre and I just returned from Memphis, TN where we visited the Civil Rights Museum located in the Lorraine Hotel where he was killed. It was a very thorough and moving experience – highly recommended.
Thank you for sharing this story, Mr. Wallace. One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King is “Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” I am grateful to work in an organization filled with diverse leaders, and the continued growth as we care for patients and families providing equitable care for all people who enter our doors at Texas Children’s.
It is always an honor to honor those who have helped shape our lives, directly or indirectly. I share your thoughts Mr. Wallace, as we reflect on this Great Personality- A Man of Substance, whose actions have changed lives.
Thank you for laying a very solid foundation for us at Texas Children’s Hospital and providing the platform to express our thoughts.
God bless you so Richly as we continue the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.!
As I read your blog today, I say thank you. Thank you for your compassion, making the choice to love and care and have compassion doing such a divisive time. I appreciate that you understood the young men ( African American). You understood then and I believe you understand now that most of us have a wall of protection up because of our own scars. Even with those scars it is people like you that care enough to see pass our scars and decide to do work to show us something different. It’s in those moments when healing take place and we began to see the world as Dr. King spoke of.
We all have something to offer and we all can learn something from each other. It will start with first with a conversation and end with love even in disagreements, love shall live on.
Mr. Wallace I have to believe if Dr. King was alive today he would be proud of the GREAT LEADER you are and the compassion you show to all of us here at Texas Children’s.
Thank you Mr. Wallace, for always recognizing and acknowledging this special holiday. I recall back in the ‘9’s having a presentation in the auditorium as a remembrance for Martín Luther King. I truly believe we live his dream!!! Thank you for your continuos positive leadership!
Thank you Mr. Wallace I appreciate your steadfast leadership.
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
Martin Luther King
Thank You for sharing these encouraging moments
Hopefully many will learn from your story, Thank you for sharing !!!
Words fail me because all of the words ,actions and what you shared on this Blog and others responses have said it all. Love working for one “Amazing” place.
Thank you for sharing!