The last few days have been trying ones for our country. The events and protests that began in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend and are echoing across the nation have been difficult and hit close to home for many of us. As a Jew and the grandson of two holocaust survivors, messages of intolerance and hate associated with recent protestors are hard to hear and understand in the year 2017. Additionally, staff members at NHPCO attended the University of Virginia and have ties to the Charlottesville community, as do I, since my wife grew up close to that city which has become a focus of great debate in recent days.
This year, while we mark 50 years of hospice since the creation of St. Christopher’s in London and the pioneering work of Dame Cicely Saunders, we also note that Dr. Martin Luther King died almost 50 years ago; the wounds of WWII and Selma are still raw; the protests of Stonewall still reverberate for many who continue to feel disenfranchised in our nation.
As hospice and palliative care professionals and advocates, it is part of our philosophy of care to honor and celebrate the dignity of every individual. While events of this weekend are not connected to hospice per se, the approach we bring to the compassionate care we provide has the capacity to be a unifying force in the communities in which we serve. As a unified provider community, we find our strength is our ability to engage in respectful discourse that recognizes a wide range of perspectives.
These are the times that try and hopefully define the noble vision of our republic. There is no room for hate, bigotry, or racism in America. I hope that we will all redouble our efforts to engage in constructive dialogue, to meet hate with love, and to continue moving our country forward in a positive direction.
As we know so well, at the end of life, we are all simply people with hopes and wishes who share a unified humanity. Thank you for what you do; I am proud to work alongside you to help advance the care of the countless patients and families that you serve with compassion, dignity and respect every single day.
Edo Banach, JD
President and CEO
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization