January 18, 2021, Posted by AHW Endowment
Today, nationwide, we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Each year on this day, we pause to remember his life, honor his legacy, and push forward.
As I reflect on all that has happened over the past year – including the last 12 days – the question of how exactly to move forward is at the top of my mind.
It’s easy to look at where we are today and feel that we have only gone backward; that there are too many challenges to confront around racism, equity, disparities, and justice; and that our own actions may not be enough.
In these moments, I think of all who have risked their lives – those who marched, were hosed, attacked by police dogs, and beaten for wanting nothing but equality. I think of those who died.
I also think of the progress that has been made – as slow as it has come. And I think of the resolve that these citizens had within them to wake up each day and fight for what is right.
So, today in 2021, how do we move forward?
For me, individually, it means putting in deeply personal work to unlearn, relearn, do more, and do better.
For us at AHW, forward means reviewing and revising how we work.
In June, we responded to the killing of George Floyd by pledging to put in the hard, uncomfortable internal and external work necessary to ensure that we, as an organization and as individuals, reshape our discourse and agenda to respond to and support our communities.
Today, that work is moving forward. We are leaning on resources from experts at Equity in Philanthropy, insights from our peers, and the experiences of our partners across the state to center equitable grantmaking practices.
When we launched our 2019-2023 Five-Year Plan two years ago, we noted: “Forward. It’s the Wisconsin motto – and a word that speaks to our drive for impact.”
That impact we are driving toward was – and remains – a vision we all share of a Wisconsin where everyone in every corner of the state has the opportunity to be healthy.
So today, I invite you to join us as a partner, a friend, and a champion for equity to say: Forward.
Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH
Senior Associate Dean and Director
Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment
Medical College of Wisconsin