Reflecting on Martin Luther King Day

Health, Partnership and Community

A Message from Dr. James Morgan

It seems appropriate to send this first message of the year on this January day, a day that we mark the birth of surely one of the world’s most influential figures of the past century, Martin Luther King, Jr.. King didn’t start wars, or invent any new technology. Instead he responded to an age old yet still burning issue of his day, inequality, and that response continues to resonate. King asked difficult questions to colleagues and friends, politicians and ordinary people. He organized, he marched, he stuck to his conscience, he never gave up.

In his speech in Memphis, the day before he was murdered, King spoke movingly about the crucial need to stay together with an organized plan in order to effect change.

Further, in recounting the biblical parable of the “Good Samaritan”, King notes that the Samaritan intentionally left himself vulnerable to attack by robbers, or even worse because of the question that he asked himself. While others posited “what will happen to me if I help this poor man?”, the Samaritan instead asked the inverted question of “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” and he then acted on his conclusion.  King next extends that same inverted question to the plight of the sanitation workers of Memphis, on whose behalf he was lobbying. 

Our staff at Lamp ask a similar question when they enter Cité Soleil each day. You see, to many of their friends and colleagues, they themselves are “inverted” or “tet anba”. Others are clearly puzzled when they see our staff willfully going into a potentially dangerous place to care for the sick and the injured. The question “what will happen to this community if we don’t participate?” is answered resoundingly with action itself. It is an action borne out of the tagline of Lamp for Haiti: Healthcare, Partnership, Community.

This year, in our communications with you each month, we’d like to highlight examples of these basic tenets of our work.

In the arena of healthcare, the country has seen a continued “brain drain” of doctors and nurses leaving Haiti, trying to escape unsafe living conditions, especially in and around Port-au-Prince. (The Lamp for Haiti health center is on the margin of the capital.) All health facilities have been impacted, including Lamp.  In the past three weeks we have interviewed three very qualified doctors to fill one of our empty positions, and we continue to work to get us back to full staffing soon.

For now, we continue to provide quality care. We have been able to return to Cité Soleil, and have been seeing patients there.  We will continue to organize, to work , side by side with the marginalized in the direction of, and at times explicitly manifesting King’s notion of, the Beloved Community.

We at Lamp remain grateful for your decision to stay engaged in this work. Both your work and your friendship is life sustaining for so many.

My very best to you and your family in this new year-


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