Standing by Those Impacted by Social Injustice

By Kurt A. Barwis, FACHE

June 08, 2020

The tragic death of an unarmed African American man in Minneapolis and the subsequent protests that have taken place, have clearly shaken our nation. These events have ignited justified frustration in cities and towns across the country and have highlighted continuous issues of racial injustice.
Those who participate in the marches are voicing their frustration and pain in hopes of starting a dialogue on a needed systematic change. The recent death of George Floyd, as well as the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others, are grim reminders of inequities that exist within our nation. Raising our voices to speak out against injustice is not only an essential part of our democracy - it is our responsibility as citizens of this great country.

We should take pride in the marches that took place this week in Bristol, Plainville, Plymouth and Southington. The protesters in Bristol were peaceful and their message was met with open arms by our mayor, police chief and members of the Bristol City Council. These community members asked for respect, dignity and equality. These unified voices and the results of their march are how we affect change. Change happens when we all come together and listen. Listening occurs when we step out of our comfort zone and hear what the other person is saying.

Bristol Health, a place for care and healing, has an important role in ensuring and serving the well-being of our community. Truly espousing our mission statement of “Caring Today for Your Tomorrow”, Bristol Health and all health care institutions share a vision of a healthy, vibrant community, where all individuals, regardless of color, ethnicity, gender and economic standing have access to quality health care.

We, at Bristol Health, are guided each and every day by that mission and philosophy to care for thy neighbor, and as a result we must stand by those affected and impacted by social injustice addressing racial, ethnic and cultural inequities within our communities and health care industry. 
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
On behalf of the Bristol Health Board of Directors, we ask that all of us take a moment to reflect on what we have done in the past and what we can do in the future to help erase racial and social inequities and engage in the difficult and sometimes uncomfortable conversations to make fundamental changes in how each and every one of our fellow human beings is treated and respected in our communities. 
Thank you for your dedication to our patients and families.

Glenn Heiser, Chairman of the Board of Directors
Kurt A. Barwis, President and Chief Executive Officer