The Darkness…and the Light
By Michael R. Fraser, PhD, CAE, Chief Executive Officer, AMCHP
It is hard to end this year on an upbeat note. Instead, we end the year on a tragic note having witnessed yet another act of senseless violence that defies imagination or understanding. How are we to make sense of the events in Newtown, Connecticut and all the other places where violence senselessly plagues us? How can we, as MCH leaders, respond? At a time of such great sorrow and darkness is there any way to come to terms with yet another slaughter of innocent life and the seemingly intractable problems created by violence, mental illness, and people who believe that the only way to resolve an issue is by killing themselves, their family, and anyone who stands in their way?
In short, no. There really is no way to come to terms with such events. These events are the physical embodiment of evil – they represent all that is horrible in the world in the real, literal sense of the word. The darkness of winter seems that much bleaker in the face of such horror.
There is nothing good about what happened in Newtown; nothing good can ever come from such violence. But this most recent example of yet another vicious act does bring light to the systems and supports that work to prevent these kinds of things from happening. We cannot help but ask where did the systems fail? Where can we do better to address the root causes of these events? At their core, events such the massacre in Newtown, CT and Aurora, CO, have to do with health and well-being, with family and being supported by healthy relationships, and with changing social conditions and policies that seek to stop violence instead of enabling it.
The event in Newtown is a tragedy. As MCH leaders, we must shine light on those things that we can do to help prevent tragedies like this from happening again. We all have a part to play in that work. I urge you to reflect on your work in MCH and share your wisdom and experience – your light – with your colleagues and communities that care. Together, we truly can Make Change Happen (MCH) even in the bleakest of times. And for that, I am truly grateful.