A Time for Thanksgiving
Autumn is my favorite season, from the slight crispness in the air to the changing color of the leaves. As nature prepares itself and begins to tuck in for the winter, there is the hint of promise, a promise that when Fall and Winter have melted away, the world will be renewed, more vital than before. Perhaps this is why across cultures, Fall is the traditional season for holidays of thanksgiving. Having luxuriated in the halcyon days of Spring and Summer, we all feel the promise of the future as Fall settles in and we await the next Spring with gratitude.
John F. Kennedy once said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
Having just celebrated the 20th Anniversary of UMMA with a grand gala where friends both old and new gathered to honor our past, talk about our present, and envision the future, we not only express our gratitude for the support we have received in our efforts to promote dignity and community health in South Los Angeles and to treat health as a human right for anyone who walks through our doors, but also ask how we can take further actions to ensure equity for all.
As we begin our 20th year and go beyond we will be going back to our roots. Born out of community trauma, UMMA is looking to enhance and expand its behavioral health services as we must never forget that mental health is healthcare.
Community trauma impacts all facets of healthcare from health-services seeking, to health prevention, to adherence and overall quality of life. UMMA was born from the community trauma that rocked South Los Angeles in the wake of Rodney King. We recognize that trauma is an all too real facet of daily life in our communities, but trauma need not be in our very own neighborhood for us to feel sympathy, empathy, and our own trauma as a result.
UMMA recognizes this need. There is much pain, hurt and mental anguish in our communities. There is a need to address this head on with vigor, compassion and dignity. We must act on our collective empathy. We recognize that at this time in our nation’s history, we must step up and provide a place expressly designed to soothe and heal the mental aches and trauma that so many are experiencing, and this is why our next stage of growth involves behavioral health services and treating the entire patient in a holistic manner. As we begin our next 20 years of service, we are going to be addressing community trauma, both epidemic and intergenerational throughout South LA, at all levels. Together we can prevent the trauma of the past from carrying forward into the future, so that our children will no longer hear the echoes of inequity that have been a reality for far too long.
Together we can make it so that at birth our children and grandchildren are not pre-determined to die at an early age or destined to suffer through trauma because of their race, color or zipcode.
I want to invite you to continue to engage with us and others who are working to bring equity, social justice and dignity to South LA, our state and the nation – UMMA is more than a clinic! We are a family and part of the social fabric of our South LA community where dignity, compassion and empathy are key. UMMA is moving into the future with the conviction that every member of our community should have the opportunity to lead a long and healthy life irrespective of their race, creed, color, or the amount of money in their pocket.
This autumn season we wish to express gratitude to all our supporters and partners through the past 20 years and on into the future. As the air gets colder and the days shorter let us remember Summer with gratitude, for as writer William Arthur Ward once said, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings”.
Thank you dear friends and may you and your families be blessed with health, love and laughs.