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Commemorating a solemn anniversary

Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of one of our nation’s most tragic events: the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Because he was killed in Memphis, the city played host to a series of “MLK50” events that commemorated Dr. King’s legacy and brought light to issues that still plague Memphis and our country.

We were proud to attend and support several of these events. However, our involvement with the National Civil Rights Museum and in causes Dr. King supported began long before this week and will continue well into the future.

In addition to sponsoring the Civil Rights Museum’s Freedom Riders Exhibit and its yearly Freedom Award ceremony, we will be coordinating several events in response to MLK50’s theme: “Where do we go from here?” The programs focus on causes Dr. King championed, such as reducing health disparities and closing the health inequality gap.

I would like to recognize Scott Fountain, our senior vice president and chief development officer; Greg Duckett, our senior vice president and chief legal officer; Keith Norman, our vice president of government affairs; Kimmie Vaulx, our system director of corporate communications; Cynthia Allen, our manager of community involvement; and Ann Marie Wallace, our community involvement and special events senior coordinator, for organizing our participation in these worthy causes. I would also like to thank the many of you who support programs and events that help bring health care to the under-served.

It is both a privilege and a responsibility to continue Dr. King’s legacy of equality and justice. We want to be part of the change, not only by sponsoring events, but also by making health care more accessible for everyone, working to be a top employer and being a good corporate citizen.

At the second convention of the Medical Committee for Human Rights on March 25, 1966, Dr. King said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhuman.” Although we have made much progress since then, sadly, health care still isn’t equal for everyone. This fact fuels me every day, and it’s part of every decision we make. As the area’s largest health care provider, we must strive to make health care equal for all. Until that happens, our work will not be done.

We have a limited number of tickets to see the National Civil Rights Museum’s Freedom Riders exhibit. To request one, please contact Cynthia Allen at 901-227-3528 or cynthia.allen@bmhcc.org.

What do you remember most about Dr. King? Tell me by email, tweeting me @jason_m_little, or finding me on LinkedIn.