A Nurse’s Remedy for Racism: Faith and Action

MLK…”he dispersed, education, community values and hope.”

MLK quote

Today I want to start my day in prayer and meditation to remember Martin Luther King and his legacy of peaceful resistance.

His work brings tears to my eyes and I emphasize work because while others would call it a fight for social justice, I believe the word fight contradicts much of the miracles he accomplished.

It was a bloody battle on racism, and still is, yet Martin Luther King acted as a conscientious objector: an “individual who claims the right to refuse to perform military actions on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, disability, and/or religion. Martin Luther King Jr didn’t hand out rifles, tear gas and brass knuckles to retaliate against the U.S. military who tried to break up his protests. Instead, he dispersed education, community values and hope that Black Lives Matter.

For this, he is the face of heaven on earth: a leader of a peaceful movement. Today, his comfort rises up in memorials all over the nation that honor his loving actions against the “mountain of despair” of all people who are disrespected because of color, gender or disability.

Take a moment to meditate on the fact that Martin Luther King worked hard to battle racism not with violence but with faith and action. Every time you start to say the word “fight”, consciously replace it with a word that exemplifies hope. Share this.

How the Spirit of MLK Guides Nursing Practice

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 I don’t know about you but I cry every time I hear or read Martin Luther King Jr’s, I have a Dream Speech. His words in 1963 still resonate with passion of a world of equality and connectedness where every nurse goes whenever they enter their workplace to care for the sick and needy.

The Caduceus, a more sophisticated sampling of the red cross, has long been a symbol used in nursing, which marks the spot where the sick and injured can be treated without fear of attack. It is the universal sign of neutrality where the most vulnerable have refuge from the fiercest battle lines of hate. Right?

 Not anymore. Sadly, the news is full of stories where nurses are being attacked by angry patients in hospitals, children are being gunned down in schools by the mentally ill and the sick of our richest nation are being relegated to half measures because of lack of funds.

Nurses intuitively know that access to healthcare is the universal level for creating  equality. Let’s face it, you can have all the money and prestige in the world but if you don’t have your health you can’t enjoy it. If you want to build a utopia you have to start with good health. Disease doesn’t care about the color of your skin or the size of your bank account.

Think about it: In medicine a nurse honors the place in you that makes you whole. A nurse upholds that universal world where you are loved as only one of God’s kids can be loved- that place of beauty that place of truth, that place of light. What an honor to share this sacred knowledge with MLK- the place where all hearts beat as one, the place where each one of us has a special purpose in this world.

King’s gifts of commitment to civil rights and non-violent social change have always been used as guidelines for nursing practice. More than ever, our success must rely on MLK’s dream in order to change this healthcare system that’s dying to get better. How simple to apply his vision of unity and courage to our nursing policy and procedures. Among the standards you might address to your healthcare agencies: Do all our neighbors have access to comprehensive healthcare, including mental health? Are the elderly as nourished as they should be? Are the children physically fit and destined for healthy adult lifestyles? These are just a few possible places to continue our nurses’ crusade for healthcare justice.

 It’s time to accommodate King’s Dream, at least on the level of healthcare, and make medical accessibility a reality.  Commit to the Nurses’ Nurse Crusade the dream of quality affordable healthcare for all.  Forward this to a friend, get others to sign up for a subscription to the Nurses’ Nurse Blog and leave your comments to build a strong nursing opinion that becomes the united voice of reason.

 

Next up: the latest update on VCHCA negotiations- the work toward Nursing Professional Recognition

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