Published on May 28, 2021

Diverse Hands Holding and Praying

One Year Since the Death of George Floyd

Throughout the past week, I have reflected with great sadness on the one-year anniversary of the killing of George Floyd. May 25, 2020 was in many ways a watershed moment for race relations both in our country and beyond. The tragic death of Mr. Floyd should never have occurred. The grave injustice—and what it represents—remains clearly etched in our memories, even as the trauma of that moment continues to be felt by our Adventist HealthCare team members.

As I have thought about the terrible moment that took place a year ago now, and our journey together since then, I would like to share with you two things that I have learned and observed. 

We have more work to do. Racial injustice calls us all to speak and act in a continued effort to end all forms of racial injustice. We all have unique opportunities to use our gifts, skills and expertise to bring about change within our sphere of influence. Many times, this sort of change doesn’t occur quickly. It requires a consistent and persistent effort from all of us, as better and loftier ideas of how we ought to treat every human being with love and respect become reality—one person at a time; one community at a time.  

At Adventist HealthCare we have eagerly leaned into this opportunity over the last year, realizing that there is much we can do to create positive change. Among many efforts across our system, through the excellent work of our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) team, we are increasingly seeking input from our team members across our system through a series of listening sessions. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that every team member and patient feels safe, respected, loved and included.

Education is one of the most powerful tools for change. Our leaders are committed to actively sharing information, resources, and tools and providing opportunities for learning and growth. For example, based on feedback from our team members we have launched a variety of educational and training opportunities focused on cultivating inclusive Adventist HealthCare leaders and team members. Among the courses are Invisible Influencers and Exploring Everyday Bias, which aim to help us understand the concept of unconscious bias and Inclusive Leadership, with a focus on engaging diverse teams and developing inclusive leadership actions. I encourage all our team members to take advantage of these powerful educational opportunities.

And yet, there is more work to do. I recognize that this is an ongoing journey and we are committed to engaging in any opportunity in front of us not only to champion change but to be the change we want to see.

Together we are stronger—always. I am a committed believer in the potential and the strength of a team. The best teams combine the insights and wisdom of a diverse group of people all working toward a common goal. While there will always be differences of opinion and even worldview among team members, it’s that very interchange of different ideas and perspectives that makes us better, smarter and more effective in our Mission.

I witness these dynamics on a daily basis at Adventist HealthCare as I engage with a number of teams each day. Team members from a vast variety of backgrounds come together to discuss and dialogue about ways we can serve better and more effectively as we care for our patients and for each other.

This culture of caring that exists in our incredibly diverse organization sounds perhaps the most hopeful note for me. While there is more work to be done as we strive toward world-class excellence at AHC and an equitable and just society, I am very encouraged by the love you continue to demonstrate to each other and to those under your care. 

I am praying for you and your family, for our organization, for our state and our country, especially as we remember this important anniversary together.

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