Next week, our team is planning to meet virtually for our mid-year review. It’s when we’re supposed to look at the plan we made for ourselves in December 2019 and ask, “How are we doing?”

I imagine this conversation will start with some examination of the utter unpredictability of this entire year, almost from its outset. Our plans focused on important long-term work that needs to be done, but — like many others — much of our attention has been diverted by crisis after crisis. Now our tasks are to take stock, start to clean up where needed and determine how to refocus, and keep pushing forward where we’ve made progress… all of which are especially daunting given that nothing feels resolved.

Nothing is normal, except to say that disruption of the norms is becoming the norm. There are too many tragedies this year — and too many disproportionately doled out to black Americans in particular.

But in this year of tragedy and disruption there is also hope if you look for the helpers, as Mr. Rogers would say. Whether as a result of COVID or the ongoing push for change equity and systemic change, people are stepping up for their communities. And leaders across systems are having conversations and planning what is necessary for real and lasting progress. No outcomes are guaranteed, but more issues are being discussed openly, frankly and vulnerably than I’ve witnessed in my time on the job so far.

Wherever we are and whatever our work, we have to recognize that we are collectively at an important juncture. The decisions we make at this moment will have lasting implications and will shape outcomes for our children and beyond.

The road ahead will test us all, but if there is one thing I am confident in, it’s that we are stronger than we recognize and that we as individuals and collectively have the capacity to do better and to make progress. Being human means there’s no way to learn our strength except through adversity. We learn lessons through failure, learn how to get back up and keep fighting and, if we’re lucky, learn to listen, be vulnerable and have a heart for change.

Arthur Ashe said: “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”

If you get this email, it’s because you work in some way with Louisiana nonprofits that serve others. So many of you live out this quote and do so at whatever cost day in and day out. We’ve seen this in these last few months through COVID-19, we’ve seen that in the last few weeks as painful inequities have been shown even more clearly and we’ll continue to see that in the challenges that come next. Thank you for that service, and may we all have the courage to press on from this juncture to a stronger, better and healthier tomorrow for our state.

Michael Tipton
President, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation
Head of Community Relations


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