by Dr. George Rapier, Founder and CEO
We’re all deeply saddened by the recent social injustices. What happened in Minneapolis was a senseless tragedy. George Floyd did not need to die. He should not have died. We cannot rest until every American is guaranteed equal rights, and none of us have to live in fear for our lives at the hands of those who are supposed to protect us. Racism must end. Social injustices must end. Together we must stand in support of equality and not be tolerant of hatred of any kind.
Many have heard this call and have stepped up to help not just George Floyd’s family but also a nation deeply broken and in desperate need of unity and repair. We are proud that our partner, UnitedHealth Group (UHG), is one of those organizations. UHG has committed to pay for the college education of George Floyd’s children and donated more than $10 million – $5 million to help local Twin Cities business, another $5 million to the YMCA Equity Innovation Center of Excellence, and up to 25,000 hours of its employees’ volunteer time to help businesses — many of them small and minority- owned — rebuild.
We are encouraged by how many are coming together to speak out against racism and for our equal rights. However, the riots have left many of our vulnerable patients, who were already sheltering at home, even more shaken. As a medical group, we’re taking action by providing access to home care, telehealth, social and emotional support, and essential services such as food assistance in the communities we serve. We will continue to do so until we can ensure that our patients are safe to resume normal public life.
These combined events of the tragic death of George Floyd, the riots, protests, a nation of deep unrest, and the pandemic of COVID-19 makes one thing incredibly clear. What we all need right now is a little understanding and compassion for one another. Personally, I’ve asked our team to begin each day with these truths as we interact with our patients and each other.
- When someone is weak, they need your compassionate strength.
- When someone is strong, they need your understanding tenderness.
- When someone is lonely, they need your genuine friendship.
- When someone is needy, they need your generosity.
Currently, more than 100,000 Americans have died this year from COVID-19 and this number will grow. These combined events have opened a gaping wound in America’s soul. We are in pain. I find myself searching for answers. But the truth is that the solution is within each and every single one of us. Be the change that you want to see.
Be kind. Help one another out. Listen. Seek to understand. Offer a hand to someone in need. Check in on those you love. Smile at a stranger – you can see a good smile even through your protective masks. It might just be the difference that someone needs in their day.
If you have 20/20 vision, it means you can see clearly for 20 feet. I think that applies to our current situation. Let’s look back on 2020 not as a year of defeat and tragedy, but as the year we saw the light and changed our ways for ourselves, for our families, and as a country. I see it so clearly. I hope you do, too.
Dr. George Rapier is founder, chairman and CEO of WellMed Medical Management, Inc.