Where Leaders are Born: Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 15, 2021 | (12) Comments

As I’ve watched the events of the past year play out before my eyes, I often think to myself—what would the great leaders who came before us do if they were here today? More often than not, I think about what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would say to us about events that have taken place more than half a century after he told the world of his dream.

I believe he would be immensely proud of how far we’ve come in some regards. For instance, in just a few days, Kamala Harris will be sworn in as the first woman Vice President of the United States—and not just the first woman, but the first African American South Asian woman. No matter who you voted for this past November, I think we can all agree that this is progress, which Dr. King would undoubtedly be proud of.

On the other side of progress though, we have also been confronted with how prevalent racism still is in today’s society. The Black Lives Matter protests from this past summer—sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and too many others—forced us to come face to face with the reality of racism we are still encountering decades after Dr. King’s movement.

Dr. King believed in equality for everyone. He fought and rallied tirelessly to ensure that our nation was a place where inclusivity and diversity was not only accepted, it was expected.

Dr. King did not violently fight those who were against him; he educated and peacefully protested the racial unrest that was occurring in his community. He used his power and knowledge to become a profound leader during the civil rights movement, and although I know that I will never fully understand the battles he fought, I want to continue to learn all that I can. Only through this education can I continue to stand up for what Dr. King believed in and ensure that the culture at Texas Children’s reflects his beliefs too.

Our culture is based on equality, inclusivity and compassion, and if we trust in these qualities and continue to not only do what’s right, but also stand up for what’s right, we will create a lasting legacy for the future employees and patients of this great organization.

We will create a generation of leaders who will not stand by and let this division continue to take place.

Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the most profound and beautifully written speeches I’ve ever read. If you’ve never read it, I highly encourage you to do so. It’s a message of his fight and passion, yet it is encompassed by peace and love for all.

As we prepare to enter this holiday weekend where we honor the remarkable Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and all he accomplished, I encourage you to think about what we can each do to be the change to create a world we are proud of. And remember, Dr. King’s reach began in his own community, yet it spread across the world—you never know how far your reach truly is until you make the decision to stand up for what is right.

Because after all, standing up for what is right is exactly where leaders are born.


12 Responses to “Where Leaders are Born: Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

  1. Eden McCleskey

    Any time we post anything like this on social media I get nauseous thinking about all the spiteful comments that are sure to follow. Thanks for keeping at it though and not letting the negative distract from the message. And for reminders like this to focus on the positive alignments and progress. Because while the entire speech is important and beautiful, the most powerful part seared in our consciousness forever is looking forward at what could be, not backward at what had been or what currently was. That is probably no accident.

  2. La Shaun D. Jackson

    Thank you Mr. Wallace for your leadership and your acknowledgement of Dr. Martin Luther King. When I think about this day, I believe it’s all of our responsibility to be kind to each other in spite of our difference. Here at Texas Children’s we have an opportunity to our children we serve to show them how to love each other, how great this country is so they can grow up and be great. From the words of one my hero’s Dr. Dorothy I. Height: ” We’ve got to work to save our children and do it with full respect for the fact that if we do not, no one else is going to do it!”.

  3. Jane Cransont

    Mr. Wallace, your heartfelt message brought me to tears. As a Black/Latina woman, it has been difficult to watch what has been happening in our country. However like you, I also believe in the goodness of people, and hope we can all fight for what’s right.
    We have to be willing to listen to and respect others, but also educate ourselves of what is “true” and act based upon that. It is with great pride and honor that I say that TCH is an amazing organization, and that I am part of it. Thank you for your kindness and honest words of wisdom. Thank you, thank you for standing for love and harmony.
    God bless all of us, and give us the strength needed at these challenging times.
    Love to all!

  4. Paul K. Minifee

    I learned from my family and my life experience that there are “lots” of good and decent people of all races in America and my experiences with the good and decent people have helped to negate the bad experiences and have allowed me to have a hopeful outlook for me and our country. This is the greatest country in the world and we must work diligently to overcome the effects of misinformation on our society. Let’s “continue to not only do what’s right, but also stand up for what’s right.”

  5. Cerissa Lagrange

    Thankful for Dr. King and the path he set for us,,, even in the midst of things that STILL needs HEALING in this cruel world, I believe those with a bit of love in their heart can change the world for what it is today! There is good in all of us, we must choose LOVE over all things…. Thank you Mr. Wallace for sharing your thoughts & honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., #2021-change is necessary

  6. Vickie Broussard

    Thank you again for championing TCH recognizing his day (Martin Luther King day) as a hospital holiday. It is a true honor to his legacy. The action was meaningful then, but in light of recent racial and political events, it is even more.
    For those who are able to be off on Monday, please get quiet, take some time to reflect on what we have accomplished and what we come so close to loosing. It is our wake-up call.
    Let the voice of Dr. King ring in our heads and in our hearts.

  7. Valerie Nichols

    I am thankful for Dr. King and the work he tried to do, but we still have a long way to go in this country. My relatives fought in WW II and came home to no job, no home, or no reward for their efforts. My son get stop consistently by the police just because of his color. I am angry at this country and all systemic racism that goes on EVERY day. This summer was a wake up call for this country, let alone the events of last week. The entire world is watching democracy play out in the USA. I hope democracy truly wins. One day maybe, I am still hopeful.

    • Paul K. Minifee

      My dad was shot in WW ll and burned in Korea and served 20 years in the Army. He did not get all the recognition he deserved, however, he taught me to Love this country, because it is the BEST. Two of father’s brothers, my late father-in-law, and my wife’s uncle all served in WW ll. These family veterans and their heroic service paved the way for us today. They did not get all the recognition they deserved but what Afro American soldiers did matters. It mattered then and it matters now. Yes, systemic racism is a horrible American tradition that is very slowly, yet painfully losing a grip. My comments are from my dad’s counsel for me, there are lots of good and decent people here in America. I love democracy, America is the best country. Let us continue to turn democracy toward a more equitable America. I have seen lots of positive change in my lifetime.

  8. Cheryl Lewis

    Thank you Mr. Wallace for your words of leadership. It is truly an honor to work for an
    organization that lead with such integrity. I’ve read your blogs and listen to your messages and it is truly inspirational how you view your leadership role at TCH as a privilege knowing that it can affect the trajectories of someone’s entire career. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” Dr. Martin Luther King reminds of the power we have as leaders to listen deeply and bring people together during unprecedented times and challenges. Thank you for recognizing and honoring his legacy.

  9. Christine Fochler-Massey

    Truly a great God fearing man, who deserves the utmost praise for his accomplishments in his day. Imagine what more he could have accomplished if not for his tragic death. On the day we remember Martin Luther King, Jr let us all take a moment to remember peace, love & unity for our co-workers, as well as anyone you meet along your journey in life.

  10. Alma Martinez

    Thank you Mr. Wallace for always recognizing and honoring Dr. Martin Luther King. In my 28 years at TCH you have ALWAYS acknowledged his legacy – and I am truly grateful for that!

    This past year especially we need to remember that we were meant to bring love and not HATE. I too am thankful for everything that Dr. King did and that one day we will live out his dream!

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