The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Reflections and Our Call to Action

As a Society which elevates social justice and health care issues in our core values, we lift up messages from Dr. King which resonate with us today.

In 1966, before the convention of the Medical Committee on Human Rights in Chicago, Dr. King spoke about racial segregation within hospitals and of health disparities. Within this talk he said, “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.”

King’s Words on Health Injustice: What Did He Actually Say?

We are Social Workers within a variety of health care spaces and in a wide range of roles, and on this day of observance, the call to action is to be a “day on, not a day off.” We will reflect on our own efforts within our work to lift up all voices and to listen better, to identify disparities and seek to address them, and to speak out when injustice demands that we do so.

As a Society we condemn the past, recent, and ongoing violence perpetrated in Washington D.C., and throughout the country. We see within it the promotion of white supremacy and the violent protection of a conviction that there are voices who should be silenced. We see within it attempts to suppress the votes of many even as far downstream in the process as the Congressional counting of Electoral Votes and the Confirmation of the Election.

We will support a peaceful transfer of power and then demand that that power pay attention to the voices of all citizens, especially those who have been disenfranchised.

Ending with Dr. King, “The ultimate measure of a person is not where he or she stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he or she stands in times of challenge and controversy.”

With you in times of Challenge & Controversy,

The Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care Board of Directors