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    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | January 14th, 2018


    “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward”

    This past weekend, I spent time listening to speeches given by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I chanced upon a speech titled ‘What Is Your Life’s Blueprint?’ The speech was delivered at Barrett Junior High School in Philadelphia on October 26, 1967, six months before his assassination.

    I ended up listening to the speech three times. I immediately sent it to my children. Although delivered in 1967, it was applicable in 2018 especially for our young people.

    In order to move forward, we need a plan – a blueprint. To design this blueprint you must include the following:

    1. “Deep belief in your own dignity, your worth and your own ‘somebodiness’” –You must believe in yourself and know that you are valuable.
    2. “Determination to achieve excellence in your various fields of endeavor” Whatever you decide to do, you must do your best. Education is important and you must not quit school regardless of the obstacles. Take advantage of all your opportunities.
    3. “Commitment to the eternal principles of beauty, love and justice”The world is not perfect, but we can make sure that we stay true to what is good. We all have the ability to make the world a better place. If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward”.

    As I was listening the second time around, I wondered if these principles could be applied to The Eliminating Health Care Disparity Blueprint. What if as a society we:

    1. Believed that every human being was valuable and deserved to be treated with dignity.
    2. Were committed to excellence – making sure that regardless of our differences – race, ethnic group, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, etc. we had equal access to all that was available for prevention and management of diseases.
    3. Vowed not to give up.  We would keep moving forward until we achieved true health equity for all.

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. continues be relevant today as he was in 1967. We have to be willing to listen and act.

    Happy Martin Luther King Jr.  Day



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