Gerrelda Davis is the Executive Director of the Louisiana Primary Care Association and the Chair of the NACHC Task Force on Undoing Racism.
Every third Monday in January, we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the impact of whose teachings and work can be seen in the roots of the work that we do here at the Louisiana Primary Care Association and at all Community Health Centers throughout Louisiana and the nation.
Community Health Centers emerged from the Civil Rights Movement, the ongoing fight for equity and justice still reflected in the values of health centers today. In what would be Dr. King’s 95th year of life, across the nation, Community Health Centers strive to empower patients from every walk of life, embracing diversity and ensuring that health care is a right for every person who walks into a clinic. His memory lives on in the commitment to treat each patient with dignity, fairness, and cultural sensitivity.
In doing this work, I am often struck by Dr. King’s words, written in 1966, but still ringing true today: “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death. I see no alternative to direct action and creative nonviolence to raise the conscience of the nation.”
Every day, health center providers and staff take direct action in the fight against health injustice. They advocate for their work and patients and strive to enhance the quality of life for vulnerable communities everywhere.
As we reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today, let us continue to draw inspiration from his words, guiding us toward a healthier, more equitable future.