MLK Day: Living the Dream

March with The Nurses Nurse

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 8 a.m.

Meet in Front of Starbucks, across the street from Plaza Park

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Mart...

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Joachim Prinz pictured, 1963 (Photo credit: Center for Jewish History, NYC)

241 West 5th St

Oxnard, CA 9303

Nothing makes me feel so good right now than the fact that President Obama’s public inauguration falls on the day we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, the same year of the 50th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream Speech”. More than ever I understand that the civil rights movement needs to continue every day in order to carry on MLK’s work to tear down racial barriers and maintain a stable middleclass.

As nurses we are supposed to care without prejudice, but with emotional conditioning dating prior to Darwin’s theory and embellished by the segregated south, the fruition of equal rights has been affected by an unconscious bias that has perpetuated the lie of “separate but equal”.

After recently seeing the movies, Lincoln and Django I can honestly say that the hurt and hatred of the incomprehensible evils bestowed on the slaves of this country are still in several stages of healing for all Americans.

A human rights principle recognized by all people is health. Without good access to affordable, quality care we perpetuate the illusion of separate but equal. Yet, in the U.S., our healthcare system is being held hostage by big money corporations who sell our well-being to the highest bidder.

Consider this: there were an extraordinary 4 million African Americans in the United States affected by the end of the Civil War who were “free” yet not equal. Today the invisible chains of slavery still bind us with the lack of universal healthcare in America, where many are in bondage to maintain jobs that, if they’re lucky, pay a paltry amount towards medical benefits.

Healthcare discrimination doesn’t fall from our outward appearances, but rather on the size of our wallets. This indignity and the lack of a public option, create disgraceful death panels which determine the amount of medical treatment we deserve, has to be stopped.  Thanks to MLK, my day to day work to achieve colored blindness is the stuff his dream was made of. Meanwhile, the clock still ticks for the dream of quality affordable medical care as a right and not a privilege.  I am hopeful that our first black American president will continue to lead our country to healthcare justice.

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