Edo Banach, JD, is president and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization based in Alexandria, Virginia. This is a statement issued on January 7, 2021, following events that took place in Washington, DC, on January 6.
January 7, 2021
I want to share a message with you all following the events of yesterday in Washington, DC. NHPCO’s offices are only a few miles from the grounds of the Capitol building, a global symbol of our nation’s democracy. First, we are all safe. Some of our staff live within the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, and yesterday’s events hit close to home. Many of us watched with incredulity the events unfold in real time on television and via social media.
This should not be a partisan time, as much as a time that cuts to the core of what it means to be a democratic republic. What it means to be America. Our democracy is integral to the fabric of this great nation. We have wide-ranging differences, but we are able to discuss and debate civilly as one nation. Free speech and the ability to gather in peaceful protest is afforded to us by the U.S. Constitution. Many nations across the globe do not have that freedom. We should celebrate that. However, what happened yesterday in Washington, DC was not a peaceful protest but violence directed at the heart of our nation. It is important that we call it what it is.
Every year, many of our members – you and your colleagues – gather in the nation’s capital to walk the halls of Congress and meet with our legislators to advocate for the work that we as hospice and palliative care providers do to bring compassion and dignity to many people in communities of every kind. And many of us actively engage with our elected officials from our homes and offices to make our voices heard. The opportunity to be an integral part of America’s democracy is a privilege that we do not take for granted.
It was reassuring to see our elected officials gather back into the chambers of the U.S. Capitol yesterday evening to continue their work. It is also reassuring, and a good reminder of what the U.S. stands for, to go back to our founding document. Let me share the preamble to the Constitution with you:
“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.”
Some might question why yesterday’s actions are important to us. Yes, I know that we are hospice and palliative care professionals and advocates, but we are also people first. As we continue to recover from so many challenges that presented themselves in 2020, we must continue to explore the ways that we can work together to improve and care for our nation using the skills at which we excel. As the nation’s best example of person-centered, interdisciplinary care, I think we can help show how we can work together with people that have different beliefs or backgrounds. We have lots of healing to do as a nation. We know something about that as well.
So onward, hospice and palliative care community. Let’s keep leading, let’s not lose hope, and let’s move forward, together, for the good of the people we serve. I continue to be proud of the work you are doing every day and I feel honored to be working on your behalf.
President and CEO
As the leading organization representing integrated, person-centered healthcare, NHPCO gives ongoing inspiration, practical guidance, and legislative representation to hospice and palliative care providers so they can enrich experiences for patients and ease caregiving responsibilities and emotional stress for families.