“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. in a letter from a Birmingham jail, April, 1963
This is one of the most tumultuous times in our lives. The COVID-19 pandemic, as appalling as it has been, has brought forth a few dividends: time with family, time for introspection, and now, time to reflect on the ongoing protests for a potential inflection point to dramatically change society for the future. It is time to heal the wounds of many who suffered from the Me Too and the Black Lives Matter movements but also all those who have been disadvantaged in other groups. Without the continual distractions of sports events and reality TV shows, we finally have the focus and appreciation for essential elements in our lives: the gallantry of healthcare and other essential workers and now the courage of the protesters that have demonstrated for the death of George Floyd at the hands of abusive police.
Racism. Even its definition is now being changed to include not only the usage of certain offensive words but the much more destructive systemic oppression of the group that is disliked. Symbols of racism are literally coming down (like statues of Confederate leaders) but perhaps we should replace them with the new heroes of this nascent anti-racist era? Even though we will finally make progress in this movement, we also need to maintain some tempered calm and compassion for the many police who are genuinely dedicated to their jobs but are now unfortunate collateral damage.
I am so very proud of all the people who have come together to make these protests a global movement against racism. I personally had some exposure to racism as a Chinese-American boy growing up in New York City where I repeatedly heard derogatory comments about my race; upon return to Asia, I had Chinese boys tease me incessantly about my American (or foreign) ways. At AIMed, we will continue to not only talk about this issue but will also institute measures that will foster group diversity and gender equality. We stand in solidarity with every group that feels disadvantaged and we plan on incorporating these themes as part of our ongoing programs. All members of our AIMed team feel very strongly and passionately about equality and will strive harder to emphasize this in all our endeavors.
In a way, we all could be a victim of a derogatory label (obese, queer, nerd, hillbilly, etc). Yet it is precisely this diversity that makes any activity and gathering a much better one. Perhaps we have inadvertently learned from our viral overlords: the virus seem to self-organize without a central dominant leader (like these movements) and yet able to emerge with a cohesive impact, except the viruses are able to achieve this without disorder nor conflict.
Anthony Chang, MD, MBA, MPH, MS
Chief Intelligence and Innovation Officer
Medical Director, The Sharon Disney Lund
Medical Intelligence and Innovation Institute (mi3)
Children’s Hospital of Orange County