Honoring the Life of George Floyd: A Message from our CEO

To our patients, employees, and community partners:

Days ago, a man named George Floyd was brutally murdered by police officers in Minneapolis. While this tragic event has ignited a movement, we cannot forget that racial inequality and injustice has been and continues to be a cancer of our society.

Recent events have shaken us as a country and have created a long overdue sense of urgency to change. They have reminded us that the work we do every day is necessary to care for our communities without judgement and prejudice. We are not perfect in our pursuit of social justice and equality, but we try every single day. Inaction is unacceptable.

We must be better. 

As a country, we cannot heal if our Black community is still hurting. Much like we cannot recover from a Global pandemic without a vaccine, our nation will never heal if systemic racism continues to destroy our communities of color.

I waited for the calming words of President Obama in a time of hurt and raw emotion. His words offered renewed hope. Unfortunately, we too often hear rhetoric that continues to enrage and divide people across this county. I am enraged. I am divided from the leadership of this country, because what I believe it means to be an American is not reflected by the actions or dialogue of those in power. Enough is enough.

“When you see the destruction, you’ve also got to realize there’s pain, there’s pain behind a lot of this.” – Elijah Cummings, CNN

I listened with tears in my eyes and a broken heart to the mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, and Killer Mike’s emotional speech. I had never heard of Mayor Bottoms or Killer Mike prior to their speeches, and it made me realize that I have no idea what it is like to live in a constant state of fear for simply being me. As a mom, part of my life’s work has been to educate my kids about many things regarding their personal safety, but I have never had to talk with them about being scared of police or the justice system, or simply the fear of being the color of their own skin.

We are all responsible.

I will never be able to understand the depth of pain experienced by Black and Brown communities, but I am committed to having the necessary conversations, providing support to our communities – but also our community of Black and Brown employees. I do not need to understand that pain to justify the need to advocate for change.

It is not the responsibility of the Black community to fix this problem alone, just because we don’t understand their pain. We are all responsible for creating the change that needs to happen.

“We must also stop the hateful incendiary comments, we got to do it. Those in the highest levels of the government must stop invoking fear, using racist language and encouraging reprehensible behavior. It only creates more division among us and severely limits our ability to work together for the common good. As a country, we finally must say enough is enough. That we are done with the hateful rhetoric. That we are done with the mass shootings. That we are done with white supremacists, domestic terrorists, who are terrorizing in our country and fighting against everything America stands for.” – Elijah Cummings

NHC honors the life of George Floyd and all those who have been impacted by hate, abuse of power and systemic racism. George Floyd was not the beginning or the end of this vicious cycle, but his death has served as a catalyst for change. I hope that together, we can all be a part of that change.

With hope,

Jeri Weeks, CEO