Celebrating the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, we commemorate the life and legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was an exemplar of courageous, nonviolent activism. In addition to his speaking out against violent acts of racism, he also spoke out about quiet, less overt forms of racism. Overt or otherwise, all forms have links to poverty, health disparities, higher rates of incarceration, and other societal injustices that disproportionately impact marginalized communities. 

His efforts to address inequities remain unfinished, and his words remain poignant. He reminded us, "In the end, we will remember not our enemies' words but our friends' silence." This quote, given in his speech "The Trumpet of Conscience" as part of a series of Massey Lectures, emphasizes that we all play a role in building equity and fighting racism in society.  

While improvements have been made in the past decades, orthopaedics, physical therapy, and occupational therapy continue to have an underrepresentation of many racial and ethnic minoritized groups. Historical oppression, marginalization of specific groups of people, and the impact of discrimination, stigma, and biases cause our healthcare system and society to suffer. 

Silence is not how to address the issues that deter or block people in underrepresented groups from our professions. Instead, we must address the systemic issues that make our careers and environments less accessible, equitable, and inclusive for individuals from diverse backgrounds.

As members of a department devoted to equity, diversity, and inclusion, let us commit to allyship for patients, learners, staff, and colleagues regardless of their backgrounds.

View 'Our Journey Together: Empowering Excellence Through Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion' from Duke Ortho's 'State of the Department.'

It is the responsibility of individuals from majority groups to heed Dr. King's words and not be silent about issues affecting people from underrepresented groups. Please take some time to reflect on the role that all of us can play in advancing our professions by fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for all people where we can thrive and create a sustainable impact.

Duke will host various MLK commemoration activities within the coming weeks that we encourage you to attend. 

All the best,

Tiffany N. Adams, PT, PhD, DPT, MBA, Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Ben Alman, MD, James R. Urbaniak Professor and Chair
Tomeico Faison, OTD, OTR/L, Minority Recruitment and Retention
Dara Purvis, MHA, Chief Administrative Officer
Erica D. Taylor, MD, MBA, Vice Chair for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion