This is a letter was sent out as a Surf Advisory to our entire company today. As care givers, we are on the front lines of ensuring our members health. We see health as not only physical, but also includes mental, social, and spiritual domains. Our aspirations to transform healthcare include addressing the ills of our society as well. Many of our team members are feeling the pain, anger, and frustration of current events and my intent was to acknowledge the crisis, put this moment in perspective, and embrace and then redirect the energy to create a new future. I felt the content was also a useful public statement to understand how our company views the current events.
As we discussed last Friday in our Green Room (our regularly occurring internal all hands call), we are at a historical junction of three major national crises. We have an ongoing worldwide pandemic, we have entered into a major economic downturn with over 30 million unemployed, and now we are witnessing a surge of national rage over racial inequality. The tragic manner and unconscionable actions that led to the death of George Floyd are another dark stain on our country’s history. And, the very real concerns of systemic, generational, and structural racial bias can no longer go unaddressed. Our collective voices must be heard and we must act to create the world that we want to live in.
The overwhelming feelings I have personally experienced have included incredible sadness, disappointment, and frustration. I have read extensively about America and our founding ideals, and believe in the concepts of our representative form of democracy, of a responsible citizenry allowed to pursue their own best life, and institutions organized and enshrined by the rule of law to provide equal and fair protection. I have always been proud to be an American and inspired by the idea that we are a beacon of hope that shines from sea to shining sea.
However, I am also very aware of our country’s imperfections and inconsistencies, and the many times throughout history where we have failed to live up to our ideals. I think it is equally as important to acknowledge that the experience and the perspective that I have may not be consistent with that of others. This is why I so appreciated hearing from Stephen Ezeji-Okoye, MD (our Chief Medical Officer) regarding his views and the call for real, structural change:
“Our hearts go out to the families impacted by the recent tragic events, and for the many others who have been taken from their families in the same terrible manner. As a country, we must be fearless and take the difficult path. We must stand together to demand change in any organization that allows racism and bigotry to exist. At Crossover, we are striving to transform healthcare, and this must include addressing ills of our shared society. Failing to do so means maintaining the root cause of inequities that limit access to care and lead to behaviors that damage individuals and their families. We stand ready to be part of the change!”
We stand ready by standing together to be part of the change. At this time of crisis, many have asked for a statement or comment from Crossover and the leadership team. Instead of just written words, I wanted to call out a few key principles, as well as what we plan to do both now and in the future:
First, everyone in our company needs to know we explicitly reject and will not tolerate any forms of bias or prejudice based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, educational attainment, cultural background, or economic station. We believe in the fundamental human right for people to pursue their dreams unimpeded by systematic bias.
We plan to add a statement to our vision, mission, and values to include the above sentiment. Everyone who joins Crossover should know where we stand as an organization, and that standing with us means we stand for something. We will practice what we preach and keep ourselves honest by including this in how we measure success at Crossover.
Second, our company is organized to provide health services under this concept. We are collectively a caregiving organization, and we are all individual caregivers who are concerned about the needs, welfare, and health of those we are privileged to serve. We see care as a whole person endeavor, and believe health goes well beyond the physical to include mental, social, and spiritual domains. We never bring our personal biases to our care; rather, we bring our very best selves, our most genuine effort, and the empathy and love that have always been part of the XO Magic.
This week, we convened 40+ XO team members to solicit ideas on how we can collectively care for each other during this time. We already had plans for a Diversity and Inclusion Group and this will now be put in place. This group will ensure that our organization represents the best of diversity, equality, inclusion, and corporate responsibility.
Third, we need to acknowledge what’s happening around and among us, but then redirect our own energy—whether that be anger, frustration, sadness, apathy, or otherwise—into something positive and constructive that builds up those around us. Protesting has a role—but I encourage your protest efforts to be put towards building something; be a catalyst that helps take the searing pain of injustice, and turn it into soul-healing service. Ask yourself if what you’re doing will transform the heat of hate into the cooling language of brotherly love.
We plan to continue to solicit ways in which every single member of our XOhana can contribute to worthwhile service activities, charitable causes, and opportunities for personal impact. It is when you lose yourself in the service of others that you find out who you really are. As caregivers we get to experience this frequently, but we hope to get more involved in sharing the love within our local communities with specific service opportunities. More to come.
The weight of the current challenges is heavy. I know many of you are hurting, you are justifiably angry, or sad, or fearful; you may carry the profound angst that is now defining 2020, and you want to help and be helpful. I am proud to be associated with each of you as we walk forward into an uncertain future together, into what I hope is a bright new day for each of us, for our country, and for the promised brotherhood of man. We can’t quit on our ideals and dreams, and I refuse to let go of what I see as the promise of America. This fierce refusal and fearless sentiment to never let go of the dream was captured by the ever eloquent Martin Luther King, Jr. during his 1964 acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize:
“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
Let us have our own unconditional love be the final word. And let us start now to write a new and next chapter for our country, together.