Black History Month has been observed in the United States since 1976. Although the annual celebration is during February, amplifying Black voices, stories, and history is important year-round. The theme for 2022 is health and wellness, in honor of Black health care professionals in Western medicine as well as doulas, midwives, birthworkers, and herbalists practicing complementary ways of healing throughout the African Diaspora. I celebrate our InsightLA teachers of African descent, dedicated advocates of mindfulness training and well-being for all.
Yesterday I was saddened to learn that a passionate champion of health justice, Dr. Paul Farmer, died suddenly in Rwanda at the age of 62. “Medicine should be viewed as social justice work in a world that is so sick and so riven by inequities,” he said. He helped found Partners in Health in Boston three decades ago. From the beginning, he worked in partnership with Black health care providers in Haiti, then Rwanda; now PIH operates in 12 countries around the world working with sister organizations to build health care systems and educate the next generations of global health clinicians where they are most needed. “Injustice has a cure…Quality health care is a universal human right.” He was a great bodhisattva, an awakening being, who put the welfare of all humanity front and center.
Paul Farmer was one of the people who inspired my longing to create Insight in Action, a branch of InsightLA that began in 2004 by serving health care professionals working with critically ill and dying children at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. Today, Insight in Action partners with 27 non-profits in LA and around the world, offering free mindfulness training to under-resourced schools, health care clinics, and non-profits serving high-risk youth, people in prison, refugees, and those experiencing poverty. This work is based on solidarity and kinship with all life. The work of Insight in Action, led by Rosamaria Segura, is truly exciting, take a look! https://insightla.org/insight-in-action/
I am inspired and grateful to all of you who support and care about this essential work. How can I enjoy real ease of well-being when so many people can’t live in good health? You, we, are walking in the footsteps of humanitarians all over the world who believe “each person is a masterpiece” (George Mumford), extraordinary and significant, deserving of love and best care.
PS – Our community has risen up to offer love to our colleague Michael Stroud and his family. Michael is gravely ill. Please join us with your well-wishes and prayers for his full recovery.