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.