Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was yesterday. There were many people at the helm of many movements throughout US history, but few are honored with a national holiday. The intent of which is for the people of this country to slow down and reflect on the impact of a man who literally gave his life so we could move forward from the stain of racism, classism, and all forms of bigotry and passivity.
But let’s be honest, MLK Day has become a trope we all indulge to remind ourselves of how far we’ve come from a time that most of us either don’t remember or would rather forget. A time when racism and sexism were common and accepted. A time when peaceful protest was met with violence. A time when polite bigotry was a comfortable mantle though its rhetoric remained militantly toxic. A time like now.
MLK Day 2021 met us mid-pandemic at the end of the strangest 4 years in recent memory. While we, as a country, are grappling with who we are, we are also prone to employing Dr. King’s message as a trite device to showboat a level of progress that has yet to be realized. The murders of George Floyd and countless others, the recent violence at the Capitol, and the scores of people dying from COVID are all but witnesses to this fact.
In the healthcare and tech worlds, we have a special kind of responsibility where we get to create and enact and iterate on the technologies that have a tangible impact on every person’s future. To that end, a large part of our work between funding rounds and beta testing is to ensure that we do not end up relegating persons to the status of things. We are all patients. Our work exists in our respective corners of healthcare to serve them. Because of this, we cannot ignore that Black people, rural people, Indigenous people, poor people, and leagues of other marginalized people who might never know our names do stand to benefit the most from our sustained dedication.
As we are in the midst of a devastating, uncertain health crisis, I am reminded of the reasons that Dr. King rose to the status of unfettered celebration: he was purpose-driven, he was willing to do the hard work even as he was met with unspeakable opposition, and he was true.
The state of the world today does not permit us an anemic democracy. Every man1 is an heir out of a legacy of worthfulness. And as such, my work and our work here at Redox ever commits to the progression of that truth. Again, and as always, we are all patients.
1 – all of humanity, including non-men