“Now is not the time to be weary.”
Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor Atlanta, Georgia
As I went for a run recently, I listened to a podcast from a series on COVID in which Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviewed Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor, Atlanta, Georgia. In the interview they discussed the tragedy of the death of George Floyd and the resulting civil unrest, the impact it has had on her personally, and her concern for her family and for the citizens of Atlanta. I found much of the discussion challenging yet inspiring. Her statement that “Now is not the time to be weary,” really struck me as something to consider.
The response to Mr. Floyd’s death across our country has varied from community to community. On Monday, there was a stance of solidarity that occurred on the courthouse lawn in Farmington. In other communities there were peaceful marches. In other communities the protests became disruptive and caused damage to property and took additional lives. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘what are you doing for others?’” This quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. supports the belief that strength comes from a community working together. We have an opportunity to work together to address disparities in how we treat each other and in access to health care. We have been very diligent in our effort to address the COVID pandemic, yet life and other struggles continue to go on around us. We profess a stance against discrimination for all our community members. Can we say that we have put our belief into actions?
According to healthcareformissouri.org today more than 230,000 Missouri citizens lack health care coverage, and many of these are working adults, veterans, parents, and citizens nearing retirement. Our neighbors, our church leaders, and those with part time jobs - we know them and yet we don’t know that they struggle between paying for rent or paying for necessary pharmaceuticals, simply because they cannot afford insurance.
People who are uninsured are less likely to seek preventative/well care and are more likely to use emergency room services for non-emergent needs. On August 4 we will have a choice to vote for Medicaid access to those who need it most. Amendment 2, HealthCare for Missouri, will expand Medicaid access across the state to these uninsured citizens. Parkland Health Center had the opportunity to support this endeavor earlier this week when MARV (Medicaid Ambulance Response Vehicle) visited Parkland Health Center on its tour to educate our community about the need for Medicaid expansion. BJC HealthCare and Parkland Health Center support this initiative to ensure access to health care for all our citizens. We hope you will join us and over 200 organizations who support Amendment 2 and vote yes on August 4.
We continue to face challenging times with many variables coming together at the same time. Dealing with all of these issues at the same time can be challenging and tiresome, yet we cannot allow ourselves to grow weary and give up. We must maintain our stamina and address the challenges we face, whether it be our ability to interact in the ways to which we are accustomed or whether it be ensuring that all of our citizens have accesses to quality healthcare or to support our fellow citizens who face discrimination. We must be strong and work together to prevent us from growing weary in our efforts to care for our community.
Parkland Health Center’s mission is to provide excellent care with great compassion. We strive to meet this goal each day through the understanding that every member of our community deserves this care, compassion, and access to affordable healthcare.
Annette Schnabel, Parkland Health Center president
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