To the North Central Washington Community:

The last several months have been a time of unprecedented and undeniable stress for all of us. The senseless deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta and so many countless others, have added to the health, economic, and emotional disruption that COVID-19 brought to light in this country. The diversity of behaviors and inequities in this country and this region have been occurring for far too long. The frustration brought on by these experiences has given us a need to act — to remove these inequities now!

Dr. Peter Rutherford

Dr. Peter Rutherford,

CEO of Confluence Health

In this country and in this region, there is no place for racism; no place for lack of respect for any individual, no matter their race, age, disability, sexual identity, religion or beliefs. As individuals, we come from different backgrounds and situations, but as a community, we must strive to ensure that all have the same opportunities. The Black Lives Matter social movement acknowledges that our society is not yet where it needs to be. Our actions don’t yet meet the promise that all people were created equally. We have been called to fulfill that promise.

This is not just a national issue. Our society is diverse, but all people must have an equal opportunity to thrive; no one should be excluded. This must include people of all races and backgrounds who live, work and otherwise contribute to what we are as a community.

Our health care communities must show respect for every individual patient and their needs. We must do our utmost to help anyone and everyone, no matter their circumstance. Every health care worker should be provided the tools for cultural understanding and competence to recognize the importance of, and develop a respectful, compassionate, and trusting working environment for all.

As individuals, we must commit to:

1. Listen, understand, and learn from others.

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2. Have respect for every individual.

3. Provide equality of opportunity for everyone.

4. Help with change for the better.

5. Never intimidate, real or perceived

Where we are now is not sustainable. We are a community and a region full of compassionate, smart, productive and intelligent members. We can and must do better.

As I look back over my lifetime and into the future, I want to be able to say that we will leave this community better for those who follow. Better from an economic, educational, nutritional, employment, recreational, and health perspective. We can only accomplish this together. We cannot stay silent.

Peter Rutherford is CEO of Confluence Health.