Once again, the news cycle has us on a roller coaster ride of extreme emotions.
Late last week, the Trump administration dismantled the LGBT nondiscrimination provisions rule of the Affordable Care Act. The announcement of this action was callously made on the anniversary of the PULSE massacre and during a pandemic. On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that discrimination against LGBT people is covered under the sex discrimination provisions of Title VII. This is a landmark ruling, a sea change. These two announcements contradict each other in every way. The pendulum swing is extreme and confusing. All of this comes at a time when the African American community is pushing back against violent policing, and their fight is our fight too. Their story should be front of mind for every American.
I am reminded of an experience I had just a few years ago, on a particular day, August 28. That day is the anniversary of the March on Washington in 1963. The echo of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was in my ears and in my heart my entire life. I wanted to be a part of the anniversary celebration that day, but I also did not know or understand my place in it. I am a white person, I was born one year after the March, and I know that my life and the privilege granted to me because I am white makes me complicit to generations of oppression. I was still in my previous job, working in Diversity & Inclusion, Economic Empowerment, Supplier Diversity and public policy, and the work was across all segments. I was very aware that the great work demanded by the March had barely begun.
As I walked toward the celebration, I paused to stop by the East Gallery of the National Museum of Art. The exhibit for the March anniversary was front and center and the first image I saw was the iconic sign. I AM A MAN. Black words on a stark white background. The men carrying those signs were fighting to be seen and understood to be fully human. I stayed there for a long time and things started to connect in my mind. People with disabilities fighting for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the uprising at Stonewall, Selma, the Suffragettes, Immigrants. We are all fighting to be seen and understood to be fully human. This commonality does not mean we are easy allies. We do not know the truths of experiences that are not our own. And yet, here we are with this uncomfortable and terrifying thing to share. This moment changed me. I am learning to work differently. To lead where I should and listen where I must.
I know this memory surfaced today because we are in another one of those moments when our detractors seeks to divide us, and to conquer us by creating havoc and despair in one moment and bringing hope in another, while people are suffering and being harmed somewhere else. We must not accept this or be distracted by it.
I am very proud to work at Chase Brexton Health Care and to lead our work in LGBT health care. We are a community health center, and a recent statement from the National Association of Community Health Centers reminded us of the intersections where we work.
“Born out of the social justice movement of the 1960s, the nation’s Community Health Centers serve to this day as advocates for quality care and health equity for all,” NACHC President Tom Van Coverden and Board Chair Lathran J. Woodward wrote in the statement. “As Community based health care providers to 30 million people in over 14,000 medically underserved communities across America, we are first-hand witnesses to the direct effect of violence, stress, physical and mental abuse on the health and well-being of our patients—people on the receiving end of racism and discrimination because of the color of their skin, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, income level or insurance status.”
We are your health care home. We grieve with you; we celebrate with you and we will be with you on your health care journey.
- Chase Brexton Healthcare2021.02.12Announcing the All-New Center for LGBTQ Health Equity
- Chase Brexton Healthcare2020.10.16On National Coming Out Day, Come Out For What is Right and Just
- Chase Brexton Healthcare2020.08.27On National Health Center Week, Remembering Chase Brexton’s Roots
- Chase Brexton Healthcare2020.06.19Riding the News Roller Coaster, and Finding Our Place in the Fight