Actively reaching out amid frustration and pain
Once again our country is being reminded that we have much work to do. As we watch the news, we must feel more than sympathy for our African American students, faculty, staff, friends and colleagues. This has gone on far too long, and even though the protests are now being taken advantage of by other forces of evil, we must not get derailed from the fundamental issues.
To see a plea for breath and life itself from George Floyd, and a long line before him, is painful to watch. That this occurred by a member of law enforcement makes this injustice even more heart-breaking. The re-emergence of discrimination that still exists in the hearts of some and being personified through actions should concern us all.
Since the inception of this nation, America has struggled to overcome hate and discrimination. We still see this struggle hundreds of years later today as we witness scenes like George Floyd and see many unite in the fight for justice.
So how does one help to heal these often mortal wounds? Can any one individual actually make a difference? While we often wait for clarion calls from our political leaders on these issues, we must realize that perhaps it can only be solved one person at a time — by you and me reaching out in solidarity, not just in passive acknowledgement. But with active embracing of the pain and hurt felt by so many of all races.
Loma Linda University Health has long adopted core values that address these issues — justice, compassion, and self-control, to mention just three. These arise not from the minds of people today, but indeed are values enunciated by Jesus. They need to permeate all that we do and think. They need to be so clear on this campus and to our communities around that we become a refuge for those now suffering.
This will not be a struggle of weeks or months or even years, but of a lifetime. We are wired in ways that make it difficult to overcome ingrained biases or beliefs from our own past. But surely this is a task we must embrace, perhaps the most noble of tasks, and one for which we seek divine help. Our faith-based heritage and our own campus are both full of examples that we can emulate — the Golden Rule and the Good Samaritan for starters. It is so poignant now that when artist Alan Collins sculpted the Good Samaritan at the center of our campus, he portrayed an African American man as the Good Samaritan who faced danger to bring healing to a stranger.
It is into this confusing world of chaos and accusations that we are just now sending our newest alumni — taught to heal and comfort those in physical and emotional pain. What a challenge and opportunity they are facing. This situation calls for a careful integration of medical skills integrated with our core values and an unwavering belief that we are all children of one God, of equal value in His sight.
Please join me in this journey of healing, this ultra-marathon of finding peace and wholeness in this torn world of ours. Begin within your own circle of friends and acquaintances, but then reach out, and further out, to include others. Look especially for those who are different from yourself and contemplate, understand, and enjoy their differences.
The Next Supper painting portrayed so powerfully in our library is surely the vision we all long for — people of all nations eating with Christ in solidarity together.
Richard H. Hart, MD, DrPH
Loma Linda University Health