We find inspiration as a Cancer Center dedicated to caring for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, and religion. Places of worship, government, local businesses and our communities across the nation once again mourn the senseless taking of innocent life. An important theme of Jewish tradition called Tikkun Olam interpreted to mean “repair the world” in modern times, is embodied by Dr. Cohen when asked about the Pittsburgh assailant, said, “my job isn’t to judge him…my job is to care for him.”
With fifteen pipe bombs sent to critics of the President by a radicalized supporter, civil discourse is threatened. The unfathomable murder of two African-American senior citizens by a self-avowed white supremacist at a supermarket in Louisville, Kentucky is a haunting reminder that racism remains a systemic problem in our country. Eleven Jewish congregants of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh were killed as they peacefully worshipped in their sacred place. From Charleston to New York, Birmingham to Louisville to Pittsburgh, the repugnant acts of structural violence are rooted in the cowardly act of institutional intolerance. Addressing the Dexter Baptist Church in November of 1957, Dr. King said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” In the wake of these unspeakable tragedies, the UI Cancer Center affirms its commitment to care for ALL people and embraces the mandate to help repair the world. Where there is hate, we shall respond with love. And may the memory of those taken so cruelly from this life be forever a blessing.
Robert A. Winn, MD