President & CEO Lori Dwyer shared the following message with PCHC staff today:
Good afternoon! I want to take just a minute to mark Martin Luther King Day by thanking you for your services to the most vulnerable among us, for your commitment to equality, kindness and compassion, and for your love of each other, our patients, and our community – no matter our differences. Your service would have made Dr. King proud.
The community health center movement very likely would not exist without Dr. King. PCHC, as all community health centers, has its roots in the Civil Rights Movement, and was born of the desire to bring critical services to impoverished, marginalized communities. It is the animating force that guides our work every day, and we are privileged to do this work.
On April 3, 1968, in Memphis, TN, in his very last speech on the occasion of a strike of the city sanitation workers to protest unequal wages, unsafe conditions for black workers and other injustices, Dr. King admonished the crowd to “develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness.” He explained this by telling the story of the Good Samaritan. In that story, Dr. King tells us, the Good Samaritan changed the fundamental question from, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” to “If I do not stop for this man, what will happen to him?”
Today, pause to ask yourself: What would happen to our patients if you did not do this work?
And, as Dr. King said, “Let us rise up . . . with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge, to make America what it ought to be.”
Lori Londis Dwyer, Esq.
President & CEO
Photograph by Julian Wasser, Time Life Pictures/Getty Images