The Basic Right of Respect

June 23, 2020

Over the past six months, the heartbreak and loss we have experienced has been inconsolable and intractable. The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor weigh heavy on our hearts and minds. Not only are we fighting a global pandemic, but we are also battling a scourge of disrespect, disregard, and inhumanity.

During this time of turmoil, I invite you to take a moment to listen and reflect. Listen to those that have been impacted unjustly due to a basic lack of respect for our fellow mankind, whether we witness or experience it firsthand or not. Listen without judgment and with an open mind and heart. Reflect on how we individually and collectively may demonstrate the respect that each person deserves as a human being. Begin tough conversations with family and friends around racial and gender equality, the conversations that some have been having their entire lives. Take the time to educate yourself to broaden your knowledge and understanding of the struggles of others.

Only through real action, understanding, and acknowledgment will we start to make a difference. This month’s UNC Health Value, It Starts With Me, extends beyond our work at OMH. We must take ownership and accountability of doing the right thing, empower and trust each other, and support one another in all aspects of our lives. Only together we will begin to make a difference.


Penney Burlingame Deal, DHA
President & Chief Executive Officer